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CASE 1

Tablarin v. Judge Angelina S. Gutierrez, No. L-78164, 31 July 1987, (e) To authorize the implementation of experimental medical
152 SCRA 730, 743. curriculum in a medical school that has exceptional faculty and
instrumental facilities. Such an experimental curriculum may prescribe
DECISION admission and graduation requirements other than those prescribed in
FELICIANO, J.: this Act; Provided, That only exceptional students shall be enrolled in
the experimental curriculum;
The petitioners sought admission into colleges or schools of medicine
for the school year 1987-1988. However, the petitioners either did not (f) To accept applications for certification for admission to a medical
take or did not successfully take the National Medical Admission Test school and keep a register of those issued said certificate; and to
(NMAT) required by the Board of Medical Education, one of the public collect from said applicants the amount of twenty-five pesos each which
respondents, and administered by the private respondent, the Center shall accrue to the operating fund of the Board of Medical Education;
for Educational Measurement (CEM).
(g) To select, determine and approve hospitals or some departments
On 5 March 1987, the petitioners filed with the Regional Trial Court, of the hospitals for training which comply with the minimum specific
National Capital Judicial Region, a Petition for Declaratory Judgment physical facilities as provided in subparagraph (b) hereof; and
and Prohibition with a prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and
Preliminary Injunction. The petitioners sought to enjoin the Secretary of (h) To promulgate and prescribe and enforce the necessary rules
Education, Culture and Sports, the Board of Medical Education and the and regulations for the proper implementation of the foregoing
Center for Educational Measurement from enforcing Section 5 (a) and functions."
(f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52,
series of 1985, dated 23 August 1985 and from requiring the taking and Section 7 prescribes certain minimum requirements for applicants to
passing of the NMAT as a condition for securing certificates of eligibility medical schools:
for admission, from proceeding with accepting applications for taking
the NMAT and from administering the NMAT as scheduled on 26 April "Admission requirements. The medical college may admit any student
1987 and in the future. After hearing on the petition for issuance of who has not been convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction of
preliminary injunction, the trial court denied said petition on 20 April any offense involving moral turpitude and who presents (a) a record of
1987. The NMAT was conducted and administered as previously completion of a bachelor's degree in science or arts; (b) a certificate of
scheduled. eligibility for entrance to a medical school from the Board of Medical
Education; (c) a certificate of good moral character issued by two
Petitioners accordingly filed this Special Civil Action for Certiorari with former professors in the college of liberal arts; and (d) birth certificate.
this Court to set aside the Order of the respondent judge denying the Nothing in this act shall be construed to inhibit any college of medicine
petition for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. from establishing, in addition to the preceding, other entrance
requirements that may be deemed admissible.
Republic Act 2382, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 4224 and 5946,
known as the "Medical Act of 1959" defines its basic objectives in the . . ."
following manner:
MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, issued by the then Minister of Education,
"Section 1. Objectives. This Act provides for and shall govern (a) the Culture and Sports and dated 23 August 1985, established a uniform
standardization and regulation of medical education; (b) the admission test called the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) as
examination for registration of physicians; and (c) the supervision, an additional requirement for issuance of a certificate of eligibility for
control and regulation of the practice of medicine in the Philippines." admission into medical schools of the Philippines, beginning with the
school year 1986-1987. This Order goes on to state that:
The statute, among other things, created a Board of Medical Education
which is composed of (a) the Secretary of Education, Culture and "2. The NMAT, an aptitude test, is considered as an instrument toward
Sports or his duly authorized representative, as Chairman; (b) the upgrading the selection of applicants for admission into the medical
Secretary of Health or his duly authorized representative; (c) the schools and its calculated to improve the quality of medical education in
Director of Higher Education or his duly authorized representative; (d) the country. The cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on
the Chairman of the Medical Board or his duly authorized the scores on the NMAT, shall be determined every year by the Board
representative; (e) a representative of the Philippine Medical of Medical Education after consultation with the Association of
Association; (f) the Dean of the College of Medicine, University of the Philippine Medical Colleges. The NMAT rating of each applicant,
Philippines; (g) a representative of the Council of Deans of Philippine together with the other admission requirements as presently called for
Medical Schools; and (h) a representative of the Association of under existing rules, shall serve as a basis for the issuance of the
Philippine Medical Colleges, as members. The functions of the Board of prescribed certificate of eligibility for admission into the medical
Medical Education specified in Section 5 of the statute include the colleges.
following:
3. Subject to the prior approval of the Board of Medical Education,
"(a) To determine and prescribe requirements for admission into a each medical college may give other tests for applicants who have
recognized college of medicine; been issued a corresponding certificate of eligibility for admission that
will yield information on other aspects of the applicant's personality to
(b) To determine and prescribe requirements for minimum physical complement the information derived from the NMAT.
facilities of colleges of medicine, to wit: buildings, including hospitals,
equipment and supplies, apparatus, instruments, appliances, -xxx- -x- -xxx-
laboratories, bed capacity for instruction purposes, operating and
delivery rooms, facilities for outpatient services, and others, used for 8. No applicant shall be issued the requisite Certificate of Eligibility for
didactic and practical instruction in accordance with modern trends; Admission (CEA), or admitted for enrollment as first year student in any
medical college, beginning the school year, 1986- 87, without the
(c ) To determine and prescribe the minimum number and minimum required NMAT qualification as called for under this Order."
qualifications of teaching personnel, including student-teachers ratio;
Pursuant to MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, the private respondent
(d) To determine and prescribe the minimum required curriculum Center conducted NMATs for entrance to medical colleges during the
leading to the degree of Doctor of Medicine; school year 1986-1987. In December 1986 and in April 1987,
respondent Center conducted the NMATs for admission to medical number of reasons wish to enroll in a professional school but rather
colleges during the school year 1987-1988. merely to make such education accessible to all who qualify under "fair,
reasonable and equitable admission and academic requirements."
Petitioners raise the question of whether or not a writ of preliminary
injunction may be issued to enjoin the enforcement of Section 5 (a) and 2. In the trial court, petitioners had made the argument that Section 5
(f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. (a) and (f) of Republic Act No. 2382, as amended, offend against the
1985, pending resolution of the issue of constitutionality of the assailed constitutional principle which forbids the undue delegation of legislative
statute and administrative order. We regard this issue as entirely power, by failing to establish the necessary standard to be followed by
peripheral in nature. It scarcely needs documentation that a court would the delegate, the Board of Medical Education. The general principle of
issue a writ of preliminary injunction only when the petitioner assailing a non-delegation of legislative power, which both flows from the
statute or administrative order has made out a case of reinforces the more fundamental rule of the separation and allocation of
unconstitutionality strong enough to overcome, in the mind of the judge, powers among the three great departments of government, 1 must be
the presumption of constitutionality, aside from showing a clear legal applied with circumspection in respect of statutes which like the Medical
right to the remedy sought. The fundamental issue is of course the Act of 1959, deal with subjects as obviously complex and technical as
constitutionality of the statute or order assailed. medical education and the practice of medicine in our present day
world. Mr. Justice Laurel stressed this point 47 years ago in
1. The petitioners invoke a number of provisions of the 1987 Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc. vs. The Public Service
Constitution which are, in their assertion, violated by the continued Commission: 2
implementation of Section 5 (a) and (f) of Republic Act 2381, as
amended, and MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985. The provisions invoked "One thing, however, is apparent in the development of the principle of
read as follows: separation of powers and that is that the maxim of delegatus non potest
delegare or delegati potestas non potest delegare, adopted this practice
(a) Article II, Section 11: "The state values the dignity of every human (Delegibus et Consuetudiniis Anglia edited by G.E. Woodbine, Yale
person and guarantees full respect of human rights. University Press, 1922, Vol. 2, p. 167) but which is also recognized in
principle in the Roman Law (d.17.18,3) has been made to adapt itself to
"(b) Article II, Section 13: "The State recognizes the vital role of the the complexities of modern government, giving rise to the adoption,
youth in nation building and shall promote and protect their physical, within certain limits, of the principle of 'subordinate legislation,' not only
moral, spiritual, intellectual and social well being. It shall inculcate in the in the United States and England but in practically all modern
youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in governments. (People vs. Rosenthal and Osmena [68 Phil. 318, 1939].
public and civic affairs. Accordingly, with the growing complexity of modern life, the
multiplication of the subjects of governmental regulation, and the
"(c ) Article II, Section 17: "The State shall give priority to education, increased difficulty of administering the laws, there is a constantly
science and technology, arts, culture and sports to foster patriotism and growing tendency toward the delegation of greater power by the
nationalism, accelerate social progress and to promote total human legislature, and toward the approval of the practice by the courts." 3
liberation and development.
The standards set for subordinate legislation in the exercise of rule
"(d) Article XIV, Section 1: "The State shall protect and promote the making authority by an administrative agency like the Board of Medical
right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and take appropriate Education are necessarily broad and highly abstract. As explained by
steps to make such education accessible to all. then Mr. Justice Fernando in Edu v. Ericta 4

"(e) Article XIV, Section 5 (3): "Every citizen has a right to select a "The standard may be either expressed or implied. If the former, the
profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable non-delegation objection is easily met. The standard though does not
admission and academic requirements." have to be spelled out specifically. It could be implied from the policy
and purpose of the act considered as a whole. In the Reflector Law,
Article II of the 1987 Constitution sets forth in its second half certain clearly the legislative objective is public safety. What is sought to be
"State policies" which the government is enjoined to pursue and attained as in Calalang v. Williams is 'safe transit upon the roads.'" 5
promote. The petitioners here have not seriously undertaken to
demonstrate to what extent or in what manner the statute and the We believe and so hold that the necessary standards are set forth in
administrative order they assail collide with the State policies embodied Section 1 of the 1959 Medical Act: "the standardization and regulation
in Sections 11, 13 and 17. They have not, in other words, discharged of medical education" and in Section 5 (a) and 7 of the same Act, the
the burden of proof which lies upon them. This burden is heavy enough body of the statute itself, and that these considered together are
where the constitutional provision invoked is relatively specific, rather sufficient compliance with the requirements of the non-delegation
than abstract, in character and cast in behavioral or operational terms. principle.
That burden of proof becomes of necessity heavier where the
constitutional provision invoked is cast, as the second portion of Article 3. The petitioners also urge that the NMAT prescribed in MECS Order
II is cast, in language descriptive of basic policies, or more precisely, of No. 52, s. 1985, is an "unfair, unreasonable and inequitable
basic objectives of State policy and therefore highly generalized in requirement," which results in a denial of due process. Again,
tenor. The petitioners have not made their case, even a prima facie petitioners have failed to specify just what factors or features of the
case, and we are not compelled to speculate and to imagine how the NMAT render it "unfair" and "unreasonable" or "inequitable." They
legislation and regulation impugned as unconstitutional could possibly appear to suggest that passing the NMAT is an unnecessary
offend the constitutional provisions pointed to by the petitioners. requirement when added on top of the admission requirements set out
in Section 7 of the Medical Act of 1959, and other admission
Turning to Article XIV, Section 1, of the 1987 Constitution, we note that requirements established by internal regulations of the various medical
once more petitioners have failed to demonstrate that the statute and schools, public or private. Petitioners arguments thus appear to relate
regulation they assail in fact clash with that provision. On the contrary to utility and wisdom or desirability of the NMAT requirement. But
we may note - in anticipation of discussion infra ---- that the statute and constitutionality is essentially a question of power or authority: this
the regulation which petitioners attack are in fact designed to promote Court has neither commission or competence to pass upon questions of
"quality education" at the level of professional schools. When one reads the desirability or wisdom or utility of legislation or administrative
Section 1 in relation to Section 5 (3) of Article XIV as one must one regulation. Those questions must be addressed to the political
cannot but note that the latter phrase of Section 1 is not to be read with departments of the government not to the courts.
absolute literalness. The State is not really enjoined to take appropriate
steps to make quality education "accessible to all who might for any
There is another reason why the petitioners' arguments must fail: the established for an, e.g., earlier school year, are discriminated against
legislative and administrative provisions impugned by them constitute, and that this renders the MECS Order "arbitrary and capricious." The
to the mind of the Court, a valid exercise of the police power of the force of this argument is more apparent than real. Different cutoff
state. The police power, it is commonplace learning, is the pervasive scores for different school years may be dictated by differing conditions
and non-waivable power and authority of the sovereign to secure and obtaining during those years. Thus, the appropriate cutoff score for a
promote all the important interests and needs ---- in a word, the public given year may be a function of such factors as the number of students
order ---- of the general community. 6 An important component of that who have reached the cutoff score established the preceding year; the
public order is the health and physical safety and well being of the number of places available in medical schools during the current year;
population, the securing of which no one can deny is a legitimate the average score attained during the current year; the level of difficulty
objective of governmental effort and regulation. 7 of the test given during the current year, and so forth. To establish a
permanent and immutable cutoff score regardless of changes in
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there circumstances from year to year, may well result in an unreasonable
is some reasonable relation between the prescribing of passing the rigidity. The above language in MECS Order No. 52, far from being
NMAT as a condition for admission to medical school on the one hand, arbitrary or capricious, leaves the Board of Medical Education with the
and the securing of the health and safety of the general community, on measure of flexibility needed to meet circumstances as they change.
the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully approached by
recalling that the regulation of the practice of medicine in all its We conclude that prescribing the NMAT and requiring certain minimum
branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of scores therein as a condition for admission to medical schools in the
protecting the health and safety of the public. 8 That the power to Philippines, do not constitute an unconstitutional imposition.
regulate and control the practice of medicine includes the power to
regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice WHEREFORE, the Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED and the Order
medicine, is also well recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative of the respondent trial court denying the petition for a writ of preliminary
regulations requiring those who wish to practice medicine first to take injunction is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
and pass medical board examinations have long ago been recognized
as valid exercises of governmental power. 9 Similarly, the SO ORDERED.
establishment of minimum medical educational requirements ---- i.e., 4. 35 SCRA 481 (1970).
the completion of prescribed courses in a recognized medical school --- 5. 35 SCRA, at 497. At this point, Mr. Justice Fernando dropped a
- for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a useful footnote of the following tenor:
legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state. 10 What we
have before us in the instant case is closely related; the regulation of "This Court has considered as sufficient standards, 'public welfare,'
access to medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985, as noted Municipality of Cardona v. Binangonan, 36 Phil. 547 (1917); 'necessary
earlier, articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the in the interest of law and order,' Rubi v. Provincial Board, 39 Phil. 660
improvement of the professional and technical quality of the graduates (1919); 'public interest,' People v. Rosenthal, 68 Phil. 328 (1939); and
of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of those admitted to the 'justice and equity and substantial merits of the case,' International
student body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by Hardwood v. Pangil Federation of Labor, 70 Phil. 602 (1940)."
selectivity in the process of admission, selectivity consisting, among
other things, of limiting admission to those who exhibit in the required In People v. Exconde, 101 Phil. 1125 (1957), Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes
degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for medical said:
practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high
standards in our professional schools in general, and medical schools "It is well established in this jurisdiction that, while the making of laws
in particular, in the current stage of our social and economic is a non-delegable activity that corresponds exclusively to Congress,
development, are widely known. nevertheless, the latter may constitutionally delegate authority and
promulgate rules and regulations to implement a given legislation and
We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission effectuate its policies, for the reason that the legislature often finds it
test like the NMAT as a means for achieving its stated objective of impracticable (if not impossible) to anticipate and provide for the
"upgrading the selection of applicants into [our] medical schools" and of multifarious and complex situations that may be met in carrying the law
"improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the country." Given the into effect. All that is required is that the regulation should be germane
widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical to the objects and purposes of the law; that the regulation be not in
schools in the United States of America (the Medical College Admission contradiction with it, but conform to the standards that the law
Test [MCAT] 11 and quite probably in other countries with far more prescribes ." (101 Phil. at 1129).
developed educational resources than our own, and taking into account
the failure or inability of the petitioners to even attempt to prove CASE 2
otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the NMAT is reasonably related MIRIAM COLLEGE FOUNDATION, INC., petitioner, vs. HON.
to the securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this COURT OF APPEALS,
area. That end, it is useful to recall, is the protection of the public from G.R. No. 127930
the potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance in those
who would undertake to treat our bodies and minds for disease or DECISION
trauma.
KAPUNAN, J.:
4. Petitioners have contended, finally, that MECS Order No. 52, s.
1985, is in conflict with the equal protection clause of the Constitution. "Obscene," "vulgar," "indecent," "gross," "sexually explicit," "injurious to
More specifically, petitioners assert that portion of the MECS Order young readers," and devoid of all moral values."[1] This was how some
which provides that. members of the Miriam College community allegedly described the
contents of the September-October 1994 issue (Vol. 41, No. 14) of
"the cutoff score for the successful applicants, based on the scores on Miriam College's school paper (Chi-Rho), and magazine (Ang Magasing
the NMAT, shall be determined every year by the Board of Medical Pampanitikan ng Chi-Rho). The articles in the Chi-Rho included:
Education after consultation with the Association of Philippine Medical
Colleges." xxx a story, clearly fiction, entitled 'Kaskas' written by one Gerald Garry
Renacido xxx.
infringes the requirements of equal protection. They assert, in other
words, that students seeking admission during a given school year. Kaskas, written in Tagalog, treats of the experience of a group of
e.g., 1987-1988, when subjected to a different cutoff score than that young, male, combo players who, one evening, after their performance
went to see a bold show in a place called "Flirtation". This was the way 'di na maaaring pagbabaran..."
the author described the group's exposure during that stage show:
Gomez stated that the poems in the magazine are not "garapal" and "sa
"Sige, sa Flirtation tayo. Happy hour na halos... he! he! he! sambit ng mga tulang ito namin maipagtatanggol ang katapangan (o pagka-
kanilang bokalistang kanina pa di maitago ang pagkahayok sa karneng sensasyonal) ng pamagat na "Libog at iba pang Tula." He finished
babae na kanyang pinananabikan nuong makalawa pa, susog naman "Foreplay" with these words: "Dahil para saan pa ang libog kung hindi
ang tropa. ilalabas?"

"x x x Pumasok ang unang mananayaw. Si 'Red Raven' ayon sa The cover title in question appears to have been taken from a poem
emcee. Nakasuot lamang ng bikining pula na may palamuting dilaw sa written by Relly Carpio of the same title. The poem dealt on a woman
gilid-gilid at sa bandang utong. Nagsimula siya sa kanyang pag-giling and a man who met each other, gazed at each other, went up close and
nang tumugtog na ang unang tono ng "Goodbye" ng Air Supply. "Naghalikan, Shockproof." The poem contained a background drawing
Dahan-dahan ang kanyang mga malalantik at mapang-akit na galaw sa of a woman with her two mamaries and nipples exposed and with a
una. Mistulang sawa na nililingkis ang hangin, paru-parong padapo- man behind embracing her with the woman in a pose of passion-filled
dapo sa mga bulaklak na lamesa, di-upang umamoy o kumuha ng mien.
nektar, ngunit para ipaglantaran ang sariling bulaklak at ang angkin
nitong malansang nektar. Another poem entitled 'Virgin Writes Erotic' was about a man having
fantasies in his sleep. The last verse said: "At zenith I pull it out and
"Kaskas mo babe, sige .. kaskas." find myself alone in this fantasy." Opposite the page where this poem
appeared was a drawing of a man asleep and dreaming of a naked
Napahaling ang tingin ng balerinang huwad kay Mike. Mistulang woman (apparently of his dreams) lying in bed on her buttocks with her
natipuhan, dahil sa harap niya'y nagtagal. Nag-akmang mag-aalis ng head up (as in a hospital bed with one end rolled up). The woman's
pangitaas na kapirasong tela. Hindi nakahinga si Mike, nanigas sa right nipple can be seen clearly. Her thighs were stretched up with her
kanyang kinauupuan, nanigas pati ang nasa gitna ng kanyang hita. knees akimbo on the bed.
Ang mga mata niya'y namagnet sa kayamanang ngayo'y halos isang
pulgada lamang mula sa kanyang naglalaway na bunganga. Naputol- In the next page (page 29) one finds a poem entitled "Naisip ko Lang"
putol ang kanyang hininga nang kandungan ni 'Red Raven' ang by Belle Campanario. It was about a young student who has a love-
kanyang kanang hita. Lalo naghingalo siya nang kabayuhin ito ng selection problem: "Kung sinong pipiliin: ang teacher kong praning, o
dahan-dahan ... Pabilis ng pabilis.' ang boyfriend kong bading." The word "praning" as the court
understands it, refers to a paranoid person; while the word "bading"
The author further described Mike's responses to the dancer as follows refers to a sward or "bakla" or "badidang". This poem also had an
(quoted in part): illustration behind it: of a young girl with large eyes and sloping hair
cascading down her curves and holding a peeled banana whose top the
x x x Nagsimulang lumaban na ng sabayan si Mike sa dancer. Hindi illustrator shaded up with downward-slanting strokes. In the poem, the
nagpatalo ang ibong walang pakpak, inipit ng husto ang hita ni Mike at girl wanted to eat banana topped by peanut butter. In line with
pinag-udyukan ang kanyang dibdib sa mukha nito. Jerome's "Foreplay" and by the way it was drawn that banana with
peanut butter top was meant more likely than not, to evoke a spiritedly
"Kaskas mo pa, kaskas mo pa!" mundane, mental reaction from a young audience.

Palpakan at halagpakan na tawanan ang tumambad sa kanya ng Another poem entitled "Malas ang Tatlo" by an unknown author went
biglang halikan siya nito sa labi at iniwang bigla, upang kanyang muniin like this:
ang naudlot niyang pagtikim ng karnal na nektar. Hindi niya maanto
kung siya ay nanalo o natalo sa nangyaring sagupaan ng libog. Ang "Na picture mo na ba
alam lang niya ay nanlata na siya." no'ng magkatabi tayong dalawa
sa pantatluhang sofa...
After the show the group went home in a car with the bokalista driving.
A pedestrian happened to cross the street and the driver deliberately hit ikaw, the legitimate asawa
him with these words: at ako, biro mo, ang kerida?
tapos, tumabi siya, shit!
"Pare tingnan natin kung immortal itong baboy na ito. He! He! He! He!
Sabad ng sabog nilang drayber/bokalista." kumpleto na:
ikaw, ako at siya
The story ends (with their car about to hit a truck) in these words: kulang na lang, kamera."
"Pare ... trak!!! Put....!!!!
A poem "Sa Gilid ng Itim" by Gerald Renacido in the Chi-Rho
Ang Magasing Pampanitikan, October, 1994 issue, was in turn, given broadsheet spoke of a fox (lobo) yearning for "karneng sariwa, karneng
the cover title of "Libog at iba pang tula." bata, karneng may kalambutan.... isang bahid ng dugong dalaga,
maamo't malasa, ipahid sa mga labing sakim sa romansa' and ended
In his foreword which Jerome Gomez entitled "Foreplay", Jerome wrote: with 'hinog na para himukin bungang bibiyakin."[2]
"Alam ko, nakakagulat ang aming pamagat." Jerome then proceeded
to write about previous reactions of readers to women-writers writing Following the publication of the paper and the magazine, the members
about matters erotic and to gay literature. He justified the Magazine's of the editorial board,[3] and Relly Carpio, author of Libog, all students
erotic theme on the ground that many of the poems passed on to the of Miriam College, received a letter signed by Dr. Aleli Sevilla, Chair of
editors were about "sekswalidad at iba't ibang karanasan nito." the Miriam College Discipline Committee. The Letter dated 4
Nakakagulat ang tapang ng mga manunulat... tungkol sa maselang November 1994 stated:
usaping ito xxx at sa isang institusyon pang katulad ng Miriam!"
This is to inform you that the letters of complain filed against you by
Mr. Gomez quoted from a poem entitled "Linggo" written by himself: members of the Miriam Community and a concerned Ateneo grade five
student have been forwarded to the Discipline Committee for inquiry
may mga palangganang nakatiwangwang - and investigation. Please find enclosed complaints.
mga putang biyak na sa gitna,
'di na puwedeng paglabhan,
As expressed in their complaints you have violated regulations in the On 17 January 1995, the Regional Trial Court, Branch CIII, presided by
student handbook specifically Section 2 letters B and R, pages 30 and Judge Jaime N. Salazar, Jr., issued an order denying the plaintiffs'
32, Section 4 (Major offenses) letter j, page 36 letters m, n, and p, page prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order. It held:
37 and no. 2 (minor offenses) letter a, page 37.
There is nothing in the DECS Order No. 94, S. 1992 dated August 19,
You are required to submit a written statement in answer to the 1992 that excludes school Administrators from exercising jurisdiction
charge/s on or before the initial date of hearing to be held on November over cases of the nature involved in the instant petition. R.A. 7079 also
15, 1994, Tuesday, 1:00 in the afternoon at the DSA Conference does not state anything on the matter of jurisdiction. The DECS
Room.[4] undoubtedly cannot determine the extent of the nature of jurisdiction of
schools over disciplinary cases. Moreover, as this Court reads that
None of the students submitted their respective answers. They instead DECS Order No. 94, S. of 1992, it merely prescribes for purposes of
requested Dr. Sevilla to transfer the case to the Regional Office of the internal administration which DECS officer or body shall hear cases
Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) which under Rule arising from R.A. 7079 if and when brought to it for resolution. The said
XII of DECS Order No. 94, Series of 1992, supposedly had jurisdiction order never mentioned that it has exclusive jurisdiction over cases
over the case.[5] falling under R.A. 707.[8]

In a Letter dated 21 November 1994, Dr. Sevilla again required the The students thereafter filed a "Supplemental Petition and Motion for
students to file their written answers. Reconsideration." The College followed with its Answer.

In response, Atty. Ricardo Valmonte, lawyer for the students, submitted Subsequently, the RTC issued an Order dated 10 February 1995
a letter[6] to the Discipline Committee reiterating his clients' position granting the writ of preliminary injunction.
that said Committee had no jurisdiction over them. According to Atty.
Valmonte, the Committee was "trying to impose discipline on [his ACCORDINGLY, so as not to render the issues raised moot and
clients] on account of their having written articles and poems in their academic, let a writ of preliminary injunction issue enjoining the
capacity as campus journalists." Hence, he argued that "what applies is defendants, including the officers and members of the Disciplinary
Republic Act No. 7079 [The Campus Journalism Act] and its Committee, the Disciplinary Board, or any similar body and their agents,
implementing rules and regulations." He also questioned the partiality of and the officers and members of the Security Department, Division, or
the members of said Committee who allegedly "had already articulated Security Agency securing the premises and campus of Miriam College
their position" against his clients. Foundation, Inc. from:

The Discipline Committee proceeded with its investigation ex parte. 1. Enforcing and/or implementing the expulsion or dismissal resolutions
Thereafter, the Discipline Board, after a review of the Discipline or orders complained of against herein plaintiffs (a) Jasper Briones; (b)
Committee's report, imposed disciplinary sanctions upon the students, Gerald Gary Renacido; (c) Relly Carpio; (d) Jerome Gomez; and (e)
thus: Jose Mari Ramos, but otherwise allowing the defendants to impose
lesser sanctions on aforementioned plaintiffs; and
1. Jasper Briones Expulsion. Briones is the Editor-in-Chief
of Chi-Rho and a 4th year student; 2. Disallowing, refusing, barring or in any way preventing the herein
plaintiffs (all eleven of them) from taking tests or exams and entering
2. Daphne Cowper suspension up to (summer) March, 1995; the Miriam campus for such purpose as extended to all students of
Miriam College Foundation, Inc.; neither should their respective course
3. Imelda Hilario suspension for two (2) weeks to expire on or subject teachers or professors withhold their grades, including final
February 2, 1995; grades, if and when they meet the requirements similarly prescribed for
all other students, this current 2nd Semester of 1994-95.
4. Deborah Ligon suspension up to May, 1995. Miss Ligon
is a 4th year student and could graduate as summa cum laude; The sanctions imposed on the other plaintiffs, namely, Deborah Ligon,
Imelda Hilario, Elizabeth Valdezco, Camille Portugal and Daphne
5. Elizabeth Valdezco suspension up to (summer) March, 1995; Cowper, shall remain in force and shall not be covered by this
Injunction: Provided, that Camille Portugal now a graduate, shall have
6. Camille Portugal graduation privileges withheld, including the right to receive her diploma, but defendants are not hereby
diploma. She is an Octoberian; prevented from refusing her the privilege of walking on the graduation
stage so as to prevent any likely public tumults.
7. Joel Tan suspension for two (2) weeks to expire
on February 2, 1995; The plaintiffs are required to post an injunction bond in the sum of Four
Thousand Pesos (P4,000.00) each.
8. Gerald Gary Renacido Expelled and given transfer credentials.
He is a 2nd year student. He wrote the fiction story "Kaskas"; SO ORDERED.[9]

9. Relly Carpio Dismissed and given transfer credentials. Both parties moved for a reconsideration of the above order. In an
He is in 3rd year and wrote the poem "Libog"; Order dated 22 February 1995, the RTC dismissed the petition, thus:

10. Jerome Gomez Dismissed and given transfer credentials. 4. On the matter raised by both parties that it is the DECS which has
He is in 3rd year. He wrote the foreword "Foreplay" to the questioned jurisdiction, inasmuch as both parties do not want this court to assume
Anthology of Poems; and jurisdiction here then this court will not be more popish than the Pope
and in fact is glad that it will have one more case out of its docket.
11. Jose Mari Ramos Expelled and given transfer papers. He is
a 2nd year student and art editor of Chi-Rho.[7] ACCORDINGLY, the instant case is hereby DISMISSED without
prejudice to the parties going to another forum.
The above students thus filed a petition for prohibition and certiorari
with preliminary injunction/restraining order before the Regional Trial All orders heretofore issued here are hereby recalled and set aside.
Court of Quezon City questioning the jurisdiction of the Discipline Board
of Miriam College over them. SO ORDERED.[10]
The students, excluding Deborah Ligon, Imelda Hilario and Daphne Court, as amended by §5, Batas Pambansa Blg. 224, a judge (or
Cowper, sought relief in this Court through a petition for certiorari and justice) may issue a temporary restraining order with a limited life of
prohibition of preliminary injunction/restraining order[11] questioning the twenty days from date of issue.[18] If before the expiration of the 20-day
Orders of the RTC dated 10 and 24 February 1995. period the application for preliminary injunction is denied, the temporary
order would thereby be deemed automatically vacated. If no action is
On 15 March 1995, the Court resolved to refer the case to the Court of taken by the judge on the application for preliminary injunction within
Appeals (CA) for disposition.[12] On 19 May 1995, the CA issued a the said 20 days, the temporary restraining order would automatically
resolution stating: expire on the 20th day by the sheer force of law, no judicial declaration
to that effect being necessary.[19] In the instant case, no such
The respondents are hereby required to file comment on the instant preliminary injunction was issued; hence, the TRO earlier issued
petition and to show cause why no writ of preliminary injunction should automatically expired under the aforesaid provision of the Rules of
be issued, within ten (10) days from notice hereof, and the petitioners Court.[20]
may file reply thereto within five (5) days from receipt of former's
comment. This limitation as to the duration of the temporary restraining order was
the rule prevailing when the CA issued its TRO dated 19 May 1995.[21]
In order not to render ineffectual the instant petition, let a Temporary By that time respondents Elizabeth Valdezco and Joel Tan had already
Restraining Order be issued enjoining the public respondents from served their respective suspensions. The TRO was applicable only to
enforcing letters of dismissal/suspension dated January 19, 1995. respondents Jasper Briones, Jerome Gomez, Relly Carpio, Jose Mari
Ramos and Gerald Gary Renacido all of whom were dismissed, and
SO ORDERED.[13] respondent Camille Portugal whose graduation privileges were
withheld. The TRO, however, lost its effectivity upon the lapse of the
In its Decision dated 26 September 1996, respondent court granted the twenty days. It can hardly be said that in that short span of time, these
students' petition. The CA declared the RTC Order dated 22 February students had already graduated as to render the case moot.
1995, as well as the students' suspension and dismissal, void.
Either the CA was of the notion that its TRO was effective throughout
Hence, this petition by Miriam College. the pendency of the case or that what is issued was a preliminary
injunction. In either case, it was error on the part of the CA to assume
We limit our decision to the resolution of the following issues: that its order supposedly enjoining Miriam from enforcing the dismissal
and suspension was complied with. A case becomes moot and
(1) The alleged moot character of the case. academic when there is no more actual controversy between the
(2) The jurisdiction of the trial court to entertain the petition for certiorari parties or no useful purpose can be served in passing upon the
filed by the students. merits.[22] To determine the moot character of a question before it, the
(3) The power of petitioner to suspend or dismiss respondent students. appellate court may receive proof or take notice of facts appearing
(4) The jurisdiction of petitioner over the complaints against the outside the record.[23] In the absence of such proof or notice of facts,
students. the Court of Appeals should not have assumed that its TRO was
enforced, and that the case was rendered moot by the mere lapse of
We do not tackle the alleged obscenity of the publication, the propriety time.
of the penalty imposed or the manner of the imposition thereof. These
issues, though touched upon by the parties in the proceedings below, Indeed, private respondents in their Comment herein[24] deny that the
were not fully ventilated therein. case has become moot since Miriam refused them readmission in
violation of the TRO. This fact is unwittingly conceded by Miriam itself
I when, to counter this allegation by the students, it says that private
respondents never sought readmission after the restraining order was
Petitioner asserts the Court of Appeals found the case moot thus: issued.[25] In truth, Miriam relied on legal technicalities to subvert the
clear intent of said order, which states:
While this petition may be considered moot and academic since more In order not to render ineffectual the instant petition, let a Temporary
than one year have passed since May 19, 1995 when this court issued Restraining Order be issued enjoining the public respondents from
a temporary restraining order enjoining respondents from enforcing the enforcing letters of dismissal/suspension dated January 19, 1995.
dismissal and suspension on petitioners....[14]
Petitioner says that the above order is "absurd" since the order
Since courts do not adjudicate moot cases, petitioner argues that the "incorrectly directs public respondent, the Hon. Jaime Salazar,
CA should not have proceeded with the adjudication of the merits of the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City not to
case. dismiss or suspend the students."[26]
We find that the case is not moot.
We do not agree. Padua vs. Robles[27]lays down the rules in
It may be noted that what the court issued in 19 May 1995 was a construing judgments. We find these rules to be applicable to court
temporary restraining order, not a preliminary injunction. The records orders as well:
do not show that the CA ever issued a preliminary injunction. [T]he sufficiency and efficacy of a judgment must be tested by its
substance rather than its form. In construing a judgment, its legal
Preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or effects including such effects that necessarily follow because of legal
proceeding prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a implications, rather than the language used, govern. Also, its meaning,
court, agency or a person to perform to refrain from performing a operation, and consequences must be ascertained like any other
particular act or acts.[15] As an extraordinary remedy, injunction is written instrument. Thus, a judgment rests on the intent of the Court as
calculated to preserve or maintain the status quo of things and is gathered from every part thereof, including the situation to which it
generally availed of to prevent actual or threatened acts, until the merits applies and attendant circumstances. ( nderscoring supplied.)
of the case can be heard.[16] A preliminary injunction persists until it is
dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing Tested by such standards, we find that the order was indeed intended
a final injunction. for private respondents (in the appellate court) Miriam College, et al.,
and not public respondent Judge. In dismissing the case, the trial judge
The basic purpose of restraining order, on the other hand, is to recalled and set aside all orders it had previously issued, including the
preserve the status quo until the hearing of the application for writ of preliminary injunction. In doing so, the trial court allowed the
preliminary injunction.[17] Under the former §5, Rule 58 of the Rules of dismissal and suspension of the students to remain in force. Thus, it
would indeed be absurd to construe the order as being directed to the The latter two provisions of law appear to be decisive of the present
RTC. Obviously, the TRO was intended for Miriam College. case.

True, respondent-students should have asked for a clarification of the It may be recalled that after the Miriam Disciplinary Board imposed
above order. They did not. Nevertheless, if Miriam College found the disciplinary sanctions upon the students, the latter filed a petition for
order "absurd," then it should have sought a clarification itself so the certiorari and prohibition in the Regional Trial Court raising, as grounds
Court of Appeals could have cleared up any confusion. It chose not to. therefor, that:
Instead, it took advantage of the supposed vagueness of the order and
used the same to justify its refusal to readmit the students. I
DEFENDANT'S DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE AND DISCIPLINARY
As Miriam never readmitted the students, the CA's ruling that the case BOARD OF DEFENDANT SCHOOL HAVE NO JURISDICTION OVER
is moot has no basis. How then can Miriam argue in good faith that the THE CASE.[35]
case had become moot when it knew all along that the facts on which
the purported moot character of the case were based did not exist? II
Obviously, Miriam is clutching to the CA's wrongful assumption that the DEFENDANT SCHOOL'S DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE AND THE
TRO it issued was enforced to justify the reversal of the CA's decision. DISCIPLINARY BOARD DO NOT HAVE THE QUALIFICATION OF AN
IMPARTIAL AND NEUTRAL ARBITER AND, THEREFORE THEIR
Accordingly, we hold that the case is not moot, Miriam's pretensions to TAKING COGNIZANCE OF THE CASE AGAINST PLAINTIFFS WILL
the contrary notwithstanding. DENY THE LATTER OF THEIR RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.[36]

II Anent the first ground, the students theorized that under Rule XII of the
Rules and Regulations for the Implementation of R.A. No. 7079, the
"To uphold and protect the freedom of the press even at the campus DECS Regional Office, and not the school, had jurisdiction over them.
level and to promote the development and growth of campus journalism The second ground, on the other hand, alleged lack of impartiality of the
as a means of strengthening ethical values, encouraging critical and Miriam Disciplinary Board, which would thereby deprive them of due
creative thinking, and developing moral character and personal process. This contention, if true, would constitute grave abuse of
discipline of the Filipino youth,"[28] Congress enacted in 1991 Republic discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the
Act No. 7079. trial court. These were the same grounds invoked by the students in
their refusal to answer the charges against them. The issues were thus
Entitled "AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND limited to the question of jurisdiction - a question purely legal in nature
PROMOTION OF CAMPUS JOURNALISM AND FOR OTHER and well within the competence and the jurisdiction of the trial court, not
PURPOSES,"[29] the law contains provisions for the selection of the the DECS Regional Office. This is an exception to the doctrine of
editorial board[30] and publication adviser,[31] the funding of the school primary jurisdiction. As the Court held in Phil. Global Communications,
publication,[32] and the grant of exemption to donations used actually, Inc. vs. Relova.[37]
directly and exclusively for the promotion of campus journalism from
donor's or gift tax.[33] Absent such clarity as to the scope and coverage of its franchise, a
legal question arises which is more appropriate for the judiciary than for
Noteworthy are provisions clearly intended to provide autonomy to the an administrative agency to resolve. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction
editorial board and its members. Thus, the second paragraph of calls for application when there is such competence to act on the part of
Section 4 states that "(o)nce the publication is established, its editorial an administrative body. Petitioner assumes that such is the case. That
board shall freely determine its editorial policies and manage the is to beg the question. There is merit, therefore, to the approach taken
publication's funds." by private respondents to seek judicial remedy as to whether or not the
legislative franchise could be so interpreted as to enable the National
Section 7, in particular, provides: Telecommunications Commission to act on the matter. A jurisdictional
question thus arises and calls for an answer.
A member of the publication staff must maintain his or her status as
student in order to retain membership in the publication staff. A student However, when Miriam College in its motion for reconsideration
shall not be expelled or suspended solely on the basis of articles he or contended that the DECS Regional Office, not the RTC, had
she has written, or on the basis of the performance of his or her duties jurisdiction, the trial court, refusing to "be more popish than the Pope,"
in the student publication. dismissed the case. Indeed, the trial court could hardly contain its glee
over the fact that "it will have one more case out of its docket." We
Section 9 of the law mandates the DECS to "promulgate the rules and remind the trial court that a court having jurisdiction of a case has not
regulations necessary for the effective implementation of this Act."[34] only the right and the power or authority, but also the duty, to exercise
Pursuant to said authority, then DECS Secretary Armand Fabella, that jurisdiction and to render a decision in a case properly submitted to
issued DECS Order No. 94, Series of 1992, providing under Rule XII it.[38] Accordingly, the trial court should not have dismissed the petition
that: without settling the issues presented before it.

GENERAL PROVISIONS III

SECTION 1. The Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) Before we address the question of which between the DECS Regional
shall help ensure and facilitate the proper carrying out of the Office and Miriam College has jurisdiction over the complaints against
Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7079. It shall the students, we first delve into the power of either to impose
also act on cases on appeal brought before it. disciplinary sanctions upon the students. Indeed, the resolution of the
issue of jurisdiction would be reduced to an academic exercise if neither
The DECS regional office shall have the original jurisdiction over cases the DECS Regional Office nor Miriam College had the power to impose
as a result of the decisions, actions and policies of the editorial board of sanctions upon the students.
a school within its area of administrative responsibility. It shall conduct
investigations and hearings on the these cases within fifteen (15) days Recall, for purposes of this discussion, that Section 7 of the Campus
after the completion of the resolution of each case. ( nderscoring Journalism Act prohibits the expulsion or suspension of a student solely
supplied.) on the basis of articles he or she has written.

A.
learning is discretionary upon a school, the same being a privilege on
Section 5 (2), Article XIV of the Constitution guarantees all institutions the part of the student rather than a right. While under the Education
of higher learning academic freedom. This institutional academic Act of 1982, students have a right "to freely choose their field of study,
freedom includes the right of the school or college to decide for itself, its subject to existing curricula and to continue their course therein up to
aims and objectives, and how best to attain them free from outside graduation," such right is subject, as all rights are, to the established
coercion or interference save possibly when the overriding public academic and disciplinary standards laid down by the academic
welfare calls for some restraint.[39] The essential freedoms subsumed institution.
in the term "academic freedom" encompasses the freedom to
determine for itself on academic grounds: "For private schools have the right to establish reasonable rules and
regulations for the admission, discipline and promotion of students.
(1) Who may teach, This right ... extends as well to parents ... as parents under a social and
(2) What may be taught, moral (if not legal) obligation, individually and collectively, to assist and
(3) How it shall be taught, and cooperate with the schools."
(4) Who may be admitted to study.[40]
Such rules are "incident to the very object of incorporation and
The right of the school to discipline its students is at once apparent in indispensable to the successful management of the college. The rules
the third freedom, i.e., "how it shall be taught." A school certainly cannot may include those governing student discipline." Going a step further,
function in an atmosphere of anarchy. the establishment of the rules governing university-student relations,
particularly those pertaining to student discipline, may be regarded as
Thus, there can be no doubt that the establishment of an educational vital, not merely to the smooth and efficient operation of the institution,
institution requires rules and regulations necessary for the maintenance but to its very survival.
of an orderly educational program and the creation of an educational Within memory of the current generation is the eruption of militancy in
environment conducive to learning. Such rules and regulations are the academic groves as collectively, the students demanded and
equally necessary for the protection of the students, faculty, and plucked for themselves from the panoply of academic freedom their
property.[41] own rights encapsulized under the rubric of "right to education"
forgetting that, In Hohfeldian terms, they have the concomitant duty,
Moreover, the school has an interest in teaching the student discipline, and that is, their duty to learn under the rules laid down by the school.
a necessary, if not indispensable, value in any field of learning. By
instilling discipline, the school teaches discipline. Accordingly, the right xxx. It must be borne in mind that universities are established, not
to discipline the student likewise finds basis in the freedom "what to merely to develop the intellect and skills of the studentry, but to
teach." inculcate lofty values, ideals and attitudes; may, the development, or
flowering if you will, of the total man.
Incidentally, the school not only has the right but the duty to develop
discipline in its students. The Constitution no less imposes such duty. In essence, education must ultimately be religious ... not in the sense
that the founders or charter members of the institution are sectarian or
[All educational institutions] shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, profess a religious ideology. Rather, a religious education, as the
foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the renowned philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, is 'an education
role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, which inculcates duty and reverence.' It appears that the particular
teach the rights and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and brand of religious education offered by the Ateneo de Manila University
spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline, has been lost on the respondent students.
encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and
technological knowledge, and promote vocational efficiency.[42] Certainly, they do not deserve to claim such a venerable institution as
the Ateneo de Manila University as their own a minute longer, for they
In Angeles vs. Sison, we also said that discipline was a means for the may foreseeably cast a malevolent influence on the students currently
school to carry out its responsibility to help its students "grow and enrolled, as well as those who come after them.
develop into mature, responsible, effective and worthy citizens of the
community."[43] Quite applicable to this case is our pronouncement in Yap Chin Fah v.
Court of Appeals that: "The maintenance of a morally conducive and
Finally, nowhere in the above formulation is the right to discipline more orderly educational environment will be seriously imperilled, if, under
evident than in "who may be admitted to study." If a school has the the circumstances of this case, Grace Christian is forced to admit
freedom to determine whom to admit, logic dictates that it also has the petitioner's children and to reintegrate them to the student body." Thus,
right to determine whom to exclude or expel, as well as upon whom to the decision of petitioner university to expel them is but congruent with
impose lesser sanctions such as suspension and the withholding of the gravity of their misdeeds.[46]
graduation privileges.
B.
Thus, in Ateneo de Manila vs. Capulong,[44] the Court upheld the
expulsion of students found guilty of hazing by petitioner therein, Section 4 (1), Article XIV of the Constitution recognizes the State's
holding that: power to regulate educational institution:
No one can be so myopic as to doubt that the immediate reinstatement
of respondent students who have been investigated and found guilty by The State recognizes the complementary roles of public and private
the Disciplinary Board to have violated petitioner university's disciplinary institutions in the educational system and shall exercise reasonable
rules and standards will certainly undermine the authority of the supervision and regulation of all educational institutions.
administration of the school. This we would be most loathe to do.
As may be gleaned from the above provision, such power to regulate is
More importantly, it will seriously impair petitioner university's academic subject to the requirement of reasonableness. Moreover, the
freedom which has been enshrined in the 1935, 1973 and the present Constitution allows merely the regulation and supervision of educational
1987 Constitution.[45] institutions, not the deprivation of their rights.

Tracing the development of academic freedom, the Court continued: C.

Since Garcia vs. Loyola School of Theology, we have consistently In several cases, this Court has upheld the right of the students to free
upheld the salutary proposition that admission to an institution of higher speech in school premises. In the landmark case of Malabanan vs.
Ramento,[47] students of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation, in the school premises and during the daytime, no clear and present
believing that the merger of the Institute of Animal Science with the danger of public disorder is discernible. This is without prejudice to the
Institute of Agriculture would result in the increase in their tuition, held a taking of disciplinary action for conduct, which, to borrow from Tinker,
demonstration to protest the proposed merger. The rally however was "materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or
held at a place other than that specified in the school permit and invasion of the rights of others."[55]
continued longer than the time allowed. The protest, moreover,
disturbed the classes and caused the stoppage of the work of non- It is in the light of this standard that we read Section 7 of the Campus
academic personnel. For the illegal assembly, the university Journalism Act. Provisions of law should be construed in harmony with
suspended the students for one year. In affirming the students' rights to those of the Constitution; acts of the legislature should be construed,
peaceable assembly and free speech, the Court through Mr. Chief wherever possible, in a manner that would avoid their conflicting with
Justice Enrique Fernando, echoed the ruling of the US Supreme Court the fundamental law.[56] A statute should not be given a broad
in Tinker v. Des Moines School District.[48] construction if its validity can be saved by a narrower one.[57] Thus,
Section 7 should be read in a manner as not to infringe upon the
Petitioners invoke their rights to peaceable assembly and free speech. school's right to discipline its students. At the same time, however, we
They are entitled to do so. They enjoy like the rest of the citizens the should not construe said provision as to unduly restrict the right of the
freedom to express their views and communicate their thoughts to students to free speech. Consistent with jurisprudence, we read
those disposed to listen in gatherings such as was held in this case. Section 7 of the Campus Journalism Act to mean that the school cannot
They do not, to borrow from the opinion of Justice Fortas in Tinker v. suspend or expel a student solely on the basis of the articles he or she
Des Moines Community School District, 'shed their constitutional rights has written, except when such articles materially disrupt class work or
to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.' While, involve substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.
therefore, the authority of educational institutions over the conduct of
students must be recognized, it cannot go so far as to be violative of IV.
constitutional safeguards. On a more specific level there is persuasive
force to this Fortas opinion. "The principal use to which the schools are From the foregoing, the answer to the question of who has jurisdiction
dedicated is to accommodate students during prescribed hours for the over the cases filed against respondent students becomes self-evident.
purpose of certain types of activities. Among those activities is The power of the school to investigate is an adjunct of its power to
personal intercommunication among the students. This is not only suspend or expel. It is a necessary corollary to the enforcement of
inevitable part of the educational process. A student's rights, therefore, rules and regulations and the maintenance of a safe and orderly
do not embrace merely the classroom hours. When he is in the educational environment conducive to learning.[58] That power, like the
cafeteria, or on the playing field, or on the campus during the power to suspend or expel, is an inherent part of the academic freedom
authorized hours, he may express his opinions, even on controversial of institutions of higher learning guaranteed by the Constitution. We
subjects like the conflict in Vietnam, if he does so without 'materially therefore rule that Miriam College has the authority to hear and decide
and substantially interfer[ing] with the requirements of appropriate the cases filed against respondent students.
discipline in the operation of the school' and without colliding with the
rights of others. * * * But conduct by the student, in class or out of it, WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and
which for any reason - whether it stems from time, place, or type of SET ASIDE. Petitioner Miriam College is ordered to READMIT private
behavior—materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder respondent Joel Tan whose suspension has long lapsed.
or invasion of the rights of others is, of course, not immunized by the
constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.[49] SO ORDERED.
CASE 4
The Malabanan ruling was followed in Villar vs. Technological Institute
of the Philippines,[50] Arreza vs. Gregorio Araneta University CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER, INC., and DRA. THELMA
Foundation,[51] and Non vs. Dames II.[52] NAVARRETE CLEMENTE, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF
APPEALS, G.R. No. 82499, 1989
The right of the students to free speech in school premises, however, is
not absolute. The right to free speech must always be applied in light of
the special characteristics of the school environment.[53] Thus, while GRIÑO-AQUINO, J.:
we upheld the right of the students to free expression in these cases,
we did not rule out disciplinary action by the school for "conduct by the At bottom, the only issue in this case is whether a school that, after due
student, in class or out of it, which for any reason - whether it stems notice to the Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports, closed at the
from time, place, or type of behavior - which materially disrupts end of the first semester of the school year 1987-1988, because its
classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of teachers and students declared a strike, refusing to hold classes and
others."[54] Thus, in Malabanan, we held: take examinations, may be forced to reopen by the courts at the
6. Objection is made by private respondents to the tenor of the instance of the striking students.
speeches by the student leaders. That there would be a vigorous
presentation of view opposed to the proposed merger of the Institute of Some fourteen (14) years ago, the petitioner Capitol Medical Center,
Animal Science with the Institute of Agriculture was to be expected. Inc. (or CMCI), a hospital corporation, organized, opened, and operated
There was no concealment of the fact that they were against such a the Capitol Medical Center College (CMCC or "the College") beside its
move as it confronted them with a serious problem ('isang malaking hospital, the Capitol Medical Center (hereafter "the Hospital") in
suliranin.") They believed that such a merger would result in the Quezon City. It offered a four-year nursing course, a two-year midwifery
increase in tuition fees, an additional headache for their parents ('isa na course, and a two-year medical secretarial course. In the first semester
naman sakit sa ulo ng ating mga magulang.") If in the course of such of the school year 1987-88, 900 students were enrolled in various
demonstration, with an enthusiastic audience goading them on, courses in the college.
utterances extremely critical at times, even vitriolic, were let loose, that
is quite understandable. Student leaders are hardly the timid, diffident Halfway through the first semester in 1987, the college faculty, led by
types. They are likely to be assertive and dogmatic. They would be the Dean of Nursing, demanded that they be granted vacation and sick
ineffective if during a rally they speak in the guarded and judicious leave privileges similar to those enjoyed by hospital personnel.
language of the academe. At any rate, even a sympathetic audience is Dialogues were held but no agreement was reached between the
not disposed to accord full credence to their fiery exhortations. They faculty and the school administration, headed by the president, Dr.
take into account the excitement of the occasion, the propensity of Thelma Navarette-Clemente, who was concurrently also the chairman
speakers to exaggerate, the exuberance of youth. They may give the of the CMCI Board.
speakers the benefit of their applause, but with the activity taking place
At a meeting of the CMCI Board on September 15, 1987, Dr. Clemente "5. DE LOS SANTOS COLLEGE OF NURSING
reported the deteriorating relationship between the CMCC "6. FAMILY CLINIC COLLEGE OF NURSING
administration and the teachers, which, from a simple disagreement, CMC COLLEGE ADMINISTRATION"
had degenerated into open hostility. She feared that the situation may
give rise to mass action by the students, because the faculty, exercising (p. 131, Rollo.)
their moral influence over the students, had enlisted the latter's
sympathy and support for their cause. On October 20, 1987, Dr. Clemente informed the Department, of
Education, Culture & Sports (DECS) that the school would be
The Board resolved to authorize her, as president of the College, to permanently closed at the end of the first semester.
close it at the end of the first semester if the antagonism of the faculty
and students toward the college administration should become "CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER, INC.
uncontrollable. The minutes of that meeting of the CMC Board disclose
the following action taken by the Board: October 20, 1987

"CMC College "The Honorable Lourdes R. Quisumbing


Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports
"The chairman reported on the developing antagonism between the Manila
Dean and a good number of the Faculty on the one hand, and the CMC
Administration on the other hand on economic matters, more "Through the Regional Director
particularly the demand of the faculty for similar vacation and sick leave
privileges as hospital personnel, and that despite of dialogs (sic), the Mrs. Modesta Boquiren
faculty does not show any conformity to the difference. She fears that National Capital Region
this antagonisms might later on develop into mass actions and Quezon City
demonstrations, wherein students who are under the influence of the
dean and the faculty will show by concrete manifestation sympathy for "Dear Madam Secretary:
the faculty demands.
"Greetings!
"After a thorough discussion of the possible effect of these mess
demonstrations especially if done in front of hospital premises, on "Please be informed that in an emergency special meeting of our Board
patients confined in the hospital, and the possibility of this antagonism of Directors held on October 17, 1987, it was unanimously resolved to
being manifested during the making of the rounds of patients by CMCC close the Capitol Medical Center College, effective at the end of the first
Nursing Students when being conducted Related Learning Experiences semester of this school year, 1987-1988.
(RLE), the board unanimously approved the following resolution:
"The recurring problems between our corporation on the one hand and
"Res. No. 87-86 to authorize the Chairman in his (sic) capacity as the Dean, Faculty and student body of the college, on the other hand,
President of CMC College, to close the college at the end of the first which has resulted in the non-holding up to now, of final examinations
semester, should the antagonism described by her become for the first semester of this school year, has gotten out of hand.
uncontrollable." (p. 79, Rollo.)
"Kindly advise us of the procedure to effect the immediate closure
During the next thirty (30) days, the rift between the administration and resolution of our board.
the faculty aggravated. The school administration scheduled the holding
of the final semestral examinations on October 14 to 19, 1987, but the "Thank you.
teachers defiantly and unilaterally "postponed" them. On the scheduled
dates for the examinations, the students joined their teachers in a noisy Very truly yours,
demonstration in front of the hospital (Annexes O, P, Q, and R, pp. 146-
147, Rollo). As the demonstrations disturbed the peace and quiet of the (SGD) THELMA NAVARRETE-CLEMENTE
hospital and fearful of possible subversive action by hostile student M.D., M.H.A., Chairman of the
nurses which might endanger the safety and lives of the patients in the Board and President"
hospital, an emergency special meeting was held by the CMCI Board
on October 17, 1987. It unanimously resolved "to close the school (p. 269, Rollo)
effective at the end of the first semester of this school year, 1987-88"
(p. 269, Rollo). Starting on that date, the following announcement was As the DECS did not reply promptly, Dr. Clemente on October 29,
posted in several places on the school premises: 1987, sent another letter to DECS Secretary Lourdes Quisumbing
reinforcing CMCI's resolve to "cease operation of school immediately
"ANNOUNCEMENT effective as of the end of the first semester of the current school year
1987-88." The letter reads as follows:
"ALL STUDENTS, PLEASE BE INFORMED OF THE TOTAL
CLOSURE OF CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER COLLEGE AFTER THE "October 29, 1987
END OF THE FIRST SEMESTER OF SCHOOL YEAR 1987-88.
PLEASE SEE POSTED LETTER INFORMING THE DECS OF SAID "The Honorable Lourdes R. Quisumbing
DECISION, BSN I-IV, MIDWIFERY I-II AND JUNIOR SECRETARIAL Secretary of Education, Culture and Sports
STUDENTS ARE THEREFORE ADVISED TO SEEK THEIR Manila
EVENTUAL TRANSFER TO OTHER SCHOOLS FOR THE SECOND
SEMESTER. "Dear Madam Secretary:

"HERE IS A PARTIAL LIST OF SCHOOLS WILLING TO ACCEPT "Greetings!


STUDENTS TRANSFEREES:
"This is to reinforce our earlier letter, dated October 20, 1987, informing
"1. ARELLANO UNIVERSITY your honorable office of the corporate decision of our Board of Directors
"2. DE OCAMPO COLLEGE OF NURSING to cease operation of the Capitol Medical Center College immediately
"3. FATIMA COLLEGE OF NURSING effective as of the end of the first semester of the current school year,
"4. ST. JUDE COLLEGE OF NURSING 1987-1988.
"June 1988 No 1st year
"The decision as embodied in the corporate resolution contemplates in June 1989 No 2nd year
no uncertain terms the immediate and total cessation of all education June 1990 No 3rd year
activities due to the following cogent reasons: June 1991 No 4th year

"1. Mismanagement of the school administration and mishandling of "This Office interposes no objection to your request provided that the
corporate policies by the Dean, extending down to the lower school administrators can comply with the requirements of the
administrative levels. Department of Labor and Employment regarding the benefits of faculty
members and support personnel who are already permanent and who
"2. Failure of the school to produce the quality of education that have already served the school for three or more years.
maybe reasonably expected or desired as evidenced by the poor
quality of Instruction it gives, the deficient program of guidance it "Pursuant to regulations, after all the courses shall have been phased
maintains, and the poor performance of its graduates over the past few out, the school cannot reopen unless the corporate status is changed
years. from a stock corporation to a non-stock corporation.

"3. The increasing costs of operation and maintenance of school "Very truly yours,
facilities.
"(SGD) Illegible
"4. Considering the fact that the school is only a minor subsidiary of "MODESTA G. BOQUIREN
the hospital corporation, its continued operation and dependent "Director"
existence will as projected, greatly impair the economic viability of the
institution and ultimately affect health care delivery and other vital (p. 256, Rollo; mphasis supplied.)
medical services of the hospital to the community and the general
public. Evidently, Director Boquiren failed to comprehend that Dr. Clemente did
not request for permission to "gradually phase out" the school but
"For the above reasons, we feel there are no legal impediments against merely informed the DECS of the school administration's decision to
the immediate and complete closure of the school under the purview of effect the "immediate and complete closure" of the school. As the
the Corporation Code. DECS did not react to her second letter, CMCCI proceeded with the
closure of the college.
"Since there are quite a number of Nursing and Midwifery Schools in
the community who would be more than willing to take in our students, The teachers, students and their parents, a representative of the DECS
we will help undertake arrangements with these schools for their and the school administration, thereafter, held a series of dialogues to
transfer, together with the assistance of your good office of course. persuade CMCCI to open the school for one more semester or until the
end of the school year. An agreement was prepared by the DECS but
"Finally, we are very well aware of the requirements of the Labor Laws CMCCI wanted to include a written stipulation binding the students and
concerning the faculty members and other support personnel who are their parents to hold no more strikes, rallies, or demonstrations until the
already permanent with at least three years of service. We shall settle end of the school year. Since the latter did not sign the agreement, the
these in due time under its proper forum. school did not reopen.

"Very truly yours, The college and the DECS have assisted in effecting the transfer of
some 411 students to other schools (p. 15, Rollo).
"(SGD) THELMA NAVARRETE-CLEMENTE, M.D., M.H.A.
President THE CASE
Chairman, Board of Directors"
On December 2, 1987, fifteen (15) students and parents purporting to
(p. 270-271, Rollo; mphasis supplied.) represent the 900 students of the CMCC filed a class suit (Civil Case
No. 52429) against "Capitol Medical Center College" and petitioner Dr.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was likewise Clemente, in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City praying for the
notified of the termination of the services of the faculty and other reopening of the Capitol Medical Center College which had been closed
support personnel of the college "thirty days hence" as required by effective at the end of the first semester of the school year 1987-1988
Article 284 of the Labor Code (p. 272, Rollo). (p. 208, Rollo).

It appears that on October 26, 1987, or three (3) days before Dr. As the complaint (Annex A) prayed for the issuance of a writ of
Clemente wrote her second letter, DECS Regional Director Modesta preliminary mandatory injunction, the court set the hearing of the
Boquiren had written the following reply which was received later: application on December 9, 1987. As agreed at the hearing, an
opposition was filed by CMCC on December 14, 1987 (p. 257, Rollo).
"October 26, 1987
On the same day, the lower court granted the writ of preliminary
"The Chairman of the Board mandatory injunction and directed the defendants "to reopen (the)
and President school and allow plaintiffs students to enroll in their respective course[s]
. . ." It fixed the plaintiffs' bond in the sum of P50,000 (pp. 85 and 273,
CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER COLLEGE Rollo). The order reads as follows:

Sct. Magbanua Cor. Panay Avenue "Plaintiffs' petition for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory
Quezon City Injunction having been heard by the Court, the plaintiffs appearing by
their lawyer, Atty. Raymundo Armovit and the defendants by their
"Dear Madam: attorney, Atty. Samson Alcantara and no sufficient cause to the contrary
being shown, the Court finds that this is a proper case for injunction and
"This has reference to your letter dated October 20, 1987 requesting for the writ prayed for should issue; WHEREFORE, the Court hereby
a gradual phasing out of all courses effective June 1988 according to orders that a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction issue against the
the following schedules: defendants directing them to re-open school and allow plaintiffs'
students to enroll in their respective courses of study and to perform
such other acts in the tenor and under the terms and conditions set on strike; they refused to attend classes and held noisy rallies in front of
forth in paragraph 8 in the complaint filed in this action, upon the filing the CMC hospital instead.
of an injunction bond in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS
(P50,000.00) within three (3) days from receipt of this order." (p. 84, That was the status quo before the private respondents filed Civil Case
Rollo.) No. 52429. The writ of preliminary mandatory injunction was issued by
the trial court not to restore that status quo, but to restore conditions
The petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the above order (p. preceding the status quo, i.e., to reopen and resume the holding of
87, Rollo) but the court denied their motion (p. 95, Rollo). classes which the private respondents themselves (plaintiffs in Civil
Case No. 52429) by their mass actions had disrupted. In issuing the
In due time, the petitioners elevated the order to the Court of Appeals writ of preliminary injunction for that purpose, the trial court committed a
on a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction (CA-G.R. SP No. grave abuse of discretion for it allowed the writ to be used by the
13626, p. 96, Rollo). The Court of Appeals issued a restraining order plaintiffs to undo the mischief that they themselves had initiated.
and directed the respondents to comment on the petition.
The teachers, by refusing to teach, and the students, by refusing to
After hearing the parties in oral argument, the Court of Appeals attend classes, made the continued operation of the CMCC futile and
rendered a decision on February 15, 1988 holding that the respondent untenable. The college had no reason to remain open under the
RTC Judge did not abuse his discretion in issuing the order of situation which the private respondents themselves brought about.
preliminary mandatory injunction because the petitioners had no right to
suddenly close the school for the enrollment of the students created a Did the private respondents have a clear legal right to reopen the
binding contract between them and the school for the latter to continue school and to be readmitted therein?
operating until the former shall have finished their courses (p. 120,
Rollo). The Court of Appeals answered that question affirmatively on the theory
that "the initial enrollment" of the students (meaning their enrollment in
On February 26, 1988, the petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration the first year of their chosen courses) created "a binding contract"
and re-hearing which was held on March 3, 1988 (p. 127, Rollo). between the students and the school, by which the latter became
"legally and morally bound to continue operating the school until such
Nevertheless, on March 8, 1988, the Court of Appeals denied enrollees shall have finished their courses."
petitioner's motion for reconsideration (p. 154, Rollo). Hence, this
petition for review. The Court of Appeals presumably, but erroneously, relied on paragraph
137, Sec. IV of the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, which
The petition for review has merit. provides:

The sole object of a preliminary injunction, whether prohibitory or "Every student has the right to enroll in any school, college or university
mandatory, is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the case can upon meeting its specific requirements and reasonable regulations,
be heard. The status quo is the last actual peaceable uncontested provided, that except in the case of academic delinquency and violation
status which preceded the controversy (Rodulfa vs. Alfonso, 76 Phil. of disciplinary regulations, the student is presumed to be qualified for
225). It may only be resorted to by a litigant for the preservation or enrollment for the entire period he is expected to complete his course
protection of his rights or interests and for no other purpose during the without prejudice to his right to transfer."
pendency of the principal action (Calo vs. Roldan, 76 Phil. 445). It
should only be granted if the party asking for it is clearly entitled thereto The meaning of this provision is that the school, after having accepted a
(Climaco vs. Macaraeg, 4 SCRA 930; Subido vs. Gopengco, 27 SCRA student for enrollment in a given course may not expel him or refuse to
455; Police Commission vs. Bello, 37 SCRA 230). re-enroll him until he completes his course, except when he is
academically deficient or has violated the rules of discipline. He is
Inasmuch as a mandatory injunction tends to do more than to maintain presumed to be qualified to study there for the entire period it will take
the status quo, it is generally improper to issue such an injunction prior to complete his course.
to the final hearing (Manila Electric Railroad and Light Co. vs. Del
Rosario, 22 Phil. 433). It may, however, issue "in cases of extreme However, there is no contract between him and the school for the latter
urgency; where the right is very clear; where considerations of relative to remain open for the entire duration of his course. Section VII,
inconvenience bear strongly in complainant's favor; where there is a paragraph No. 137, of the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools
willful and unlawful invasion of plaintiffs right against his protest and provides:
remonstrance, the injury being a continuing one; and where the effect of
the mandatory injunction is rather to reestablish and maintain a "137. When a student registers in a school, it is understood that he is
preexisting continuing relation between the parties, recently and enrolling for the entire school year for elementary and secondary
arbitrarily interrupted by the defendant, than to establish a new relation. courses, and for the entire semester for collegiate course. A student
Indeed, the writ should not be denied the complainant when he makes who transfers or otherwise withdraws, in writing, within two weeks after
out a clear case, free from, doubt and dispute." (Commissioner of the beginning of classes and who has already paid the pertinent tuition
Customs vs. Cloribel, et al., 19 SCRA 235.) and other school fees in full or for any length of time longer than one
month may be charged ten per cent of the total amount due for the term
The questions that we might ask are: if he withdraws within the first week of classes, or twenty per cent if
within the second week of classes, regardless of whether or not he has
(1) What was the status quo before the private respondents filed their actually attended classes. The student may be charged all the school
complaint "for specific performance" on December 2, 1987? fees in full if he withdraws anytime after the second week of classes.
However, if the transfer or withdrawal is due to a justifiable reason, the
(2) Do the private respondents have a clear legal right to demand the student shall be charged the pertinent fees only up to and including the
reopening of the school? last month of attendance."

The status quo on December 2, 1987 was that the school was already The contract between the college and a student who is enrolled and
closed. CMCC was closed effective at the end of the first semester, i.e., pays the fees for a semester, is for the entire semester only, not for the
the first week of November 1987. entire course. The law does not require a school to see a student
through to the completion of his course. If the school closes or is closed
What was the status quo prior to the closure of the school? There were by proper authority at the end of a semester, the student has no cause
no classes. The school was deserted. The teachers and students were of action for breach of contract against the school.
the obligation of the school to educate a student would imply a
Thus did this Court rule in "Alcuaz, et al. vs. Philippine School of corresponding obligation on the part of the student to study and obey
Business Administration, Quezon City Branch, et al.," G.R. No. 76353, the rules and regulations of the school. When students breach that
promulgated on May 2, 1988, a case which involved some students and supposed contract by refusing to attend their classes, preferring to take
teachers who had participated in mass actions and rallies in the to the streets to mount a noisy demonstration against their school, the
respondent school and who were respectively denied re-admission for latter may cancel the contract and close its doors. Its action would
enrollment, and re-appointment to teaching positions in the school: neither be arbitrary nor unfair.

"It is beyond dispute that a student once admitted by the school is It was the trial court that acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of
considered enrolled for one semester. It is provided in Paragraph 137 discretion in ordering the school to reopen and readmit the striking
Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, that when a college student students and teachers in spite of their refusal to desist from continuing
registers in a school, it is understood that he is enrolling for the entire their disruptive mass actions against the school.
semester. Likewise, it is provided in the Manual, that the 'written
contracts' required for college teachers are for 'one semester.' It is thus WHEREFORE, the petition for review is granted. The decision dated
evident that after the close of the first semester, the PSBA-QC no May 15, 1988 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 13626 is
longer has any existing contract either with the students or with the hereby set aside. The order and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
intervening teachers. Such being the case, the charge of denial of due issued by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 77, in Civil
process is untenable. It is a time-honored principle that contracts are Case No. Q-52429 are hereby annulled and set aside. Costs against
respected as the law between the contracting parties (Henson vs. the private respondents.
Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., G.R. No. 72456, February 19,
1987, citing: Castro vs. Court of Appeals, 99 SCRA 722; Escano vs. SO ORDERED.
Court of Appeals, 100 SCRA 197). The contract having been
terminated, there is no more contract to speak of. The school cannot be CASE 6
compelled to enter into another contract with said students and [1999V694] UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES BOARD OF
teachers. The courts, be they the original trial court or the appellate REGENTS, CHANCELLOR ROGER POSADAS, vs. HON. COURT OF
court, have no power to make contracts for the parties.' (Henson vs. APPEALSG.R. No. 134625D E C I S I O N
Intermediate Appellate Court, et al., supra." (p. 12 of the decision.).
MENDOZA, J.:
Significantly, in Alcuaz only some students and teachers left their
classrooms to hold rallies in the school premises. The majority For review before the Court is the decision of the Court of Appeals1
remained in the classrooms. The school did not cease to operate. In [Per Associate Justice Artemio G. Tuquero and concurred in by
this case, however, all the teachers and students struck and abandoned Associate Justices Jorge S. Imperial and Eubulo G. Verzola.] in CA-
their classes. G.R. SP No. 42788, dated December 16, 1997, which granted private
respondent's application for a writ of mandatory injunction, and its
In Alcuaz, the mass assemblies and barricades were held for three resolution, dated July 13, 1998, denying petitioners' motion for
days. In the CMCC case, the "strike" began on October 14 and reconsideration.
continued until the end of the semester.
The antecedent facts are as follows:
In Alcuaz, the school did not close but it nevertheless refused to re-
admit the offending students and teachers. In this case, the school has Private respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine is a citizen of
closed completely. India and holder of a Philippine visitor's visa. Sometime in April 1988,
she enrolled in the doctoral program in Anthropology of the University of
If in Alcuaz, this Court recognized the right of the school to refuse the Philippines College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) in
admission to students guilty of breaches of discipline, and of the peace, Diliman, Quezon City.
its right to close when the entire faculty and student population have After completing the units of course work required in her doctoral
boycotted their classes, may not be denied. The irony for the school in program, private respondent went on a two-year leave of absence to
this case is that it was forced to close by student action, and is now work as Tamil Programme Producer of the Vatican Radio in the Vatican
being forced to reopen by student action also, assisted by the lower and as General Office Assistant at the International Right to Life
court. We cannot sanction the order of the lower court which gave aid Federation in Rome. She returned to the Philippines in July 1991 to
and comfort to the students who paralyzed the operation of the school work on her dissertation entitled, "Tamil Influences in Malaysia,
by their mass actions forcing it to shut down altogether. We cannot Indonesia and the Philippines."
approve a situation which would place a school at the mercy of its
students. On December 22, 1992, Dr. Realidad S. Rolda, chairperson of the U.P.
Department of Anthropology, wrote a letter to Dr. Maria Serena Diokno,
We, therefore, hold that the lower court gravely abused its discretion in CSSP Associate Dean and Graduate Program Director, certifying that
compelling the CMCC to reopen and re-admit the striking students for private respondent had finished her dissertation and was ready for her
enrollment in the second semester of their courses. Since their oral defense. Dr. Rolda suggested that the oral defense be held on
contracts with the school were terminated at the end of the first January 6, 1993 but, in a letter, dated February 2, 1993, Dr. Serena
semester of 1987, and as the school has already ceased to operate, Diokno rescheduled it on February 5, 1993. Named as members of the
they have no "clear legal right" to reenroll and the school has no legal dissertation panel were Drs. E. Arsenio Manuel, Serafin Quiason, Sri
obligation to reopen and readmit them. No provision in the Education Skandarajah, Noel Teodoro, and Isagani Medina, the last included as
Act of 1982, nor in the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools can the dean's representative.
be, or has been, cited to support the novel view that a school is
obligated to remain open until its students have completed their courses After going over private respondent's dissertation, Dr. Medina informed
therein. Indeed, neither is there a law or rule that obligates a student CSSP Dean Consuelo Joaquin-Paz that there was a portion in private
who has enrolled in a school, to remain there until he finishes his respondent's dissertation that was lifted, without proper
course. On the contrary he may transfer at any time to any school that acknowledgment, from Balfour's Cyclopaedia of India and Eastern and
is willing to accept him. Southern Asia (1967), volume I, pp. 392-401 (3 v., Edward Balfour 1885
reprint) and from John Edye's article entitled "Description of the Various
But even if it can be supposed that the enrollment of a student creates Classes of Vessels Constructed and Employed by the Natives of the
an implied "binding contract" with the school to educate him for the Coasts of Coromandel, Malabar, and the Island of Ceylon for their
entire course, since a contract creates reciprocal rights and obligations, Coasting Navigation" in the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and
Ireland Journal, volume I, pp. 1-14 (1833).2 [Stated as 1883 in the 1993. The list, which was endorsed to the Board of Regents for final
Petition for Certiorari.] approval, included private respondent's name.

Nonetheless, private respondent was allowed to defend her dissertation On April 21, 1993, Dean Paz sent a letter to Dr. Milagros Ibe, Vice
on February 5, 1993. Four (4) out of the five (5) panelists gave private Chancellor for Academic Affairs, requesting the exclusion of private
respondent a passing mark for her oral defense by affixing their respondent's name from the list of candidates for graduation, pending
signatures on the approval form. These were Drs. Manuel, Quiason, clarification of the problems regarding her dissertation. Her letter
Skandarajah, and Teodoro. Dr. Quiason added the following reads:8 [Records, p. 39.]
qualification to his signature:
Abril 21, 1993
Ms. Arokiaswamy must incorporate the suggestions I made during the
successful defense of her Ph.D. thesis.3 [Records, p. 26.] Dr. Milagros Ibe
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Dr. Medina did not sign the approval form but added the following Unibersidad ng Pilipinas
comment:
Quezon Hall, Diliman, Q.C.
Pipirmahan ko ang pagsang-ayon/di pagsang-ayon kapag nakita ko na
ang mga revisions ng dissertation.4 [Ibid.] Mahal na Dr. Ibe,

Dr. Teodoro added the following note to his signature: Mahigpit ko pong hinihiling na hwag munang isama ang pangalan ni
Ms. Arokiaswam[y] William Margaret Celine sa listahan ng mga
Kailangang isagawa ang mga mahahalagang pagbabago at ipakita sa bibigyan ng degri na Ph.D. (Anthropology) ngayon[g] semester, dahil sa
panel ang bound copies.5 [Supra, note 3.] mga malubhang bintang nya sa ilang myembro ng panel para sa oral
defense ng disertasyon nya at sa mga akusasyon ng ilan sa mga ito sa
In a letter, dated March 5, 1993 and addressed to her thesis adviser, kanya.
Dr. Manuel, private respondent requested a meeting with the panel
members, especially Dr. Medina, to discuss the amendments Naniniwala po kami na dapat mailinaw muna ang ilang bagay bago
suggested by the panel members during the oral defense. The meeting makonfer ang degri kay Ms. Arokiaswam[y]. Kelangan po ito para
was held at the dean's office with Dean Paz, private respondent, and a mapangalagaan ang istandard ng pinakamataas na degree ng
majority of the defense panel present.6 [Dr. Manuel Teodoro was Unibersidad.
absent during the meeting.] During the meeting, Dean Paz remarked
that a majority vote of the panel members was sufficient for a student to (Sgd.) CONSUELO JOAQUIN-PAZ, Ph.D.
pass, notwithstanding the failure to obtain the consent of the Dean's Dekano
representative.
Apparently, however, Dean Paz's letter did not reach the Board of
On March 24, 1993, the CSSP College Faculty Assembly approved Regents on time, because the next day, April 22, 1993, the Board
private respondent's graduation pending submission of final copies of approved the University Council's recommendation for the graduation of
her dissertation. qualified students, including private respondent. Two days later, on
April 24, 1993, private respondent graduated with the degree of Doctor
In April 1993, private respondent submitted copies of her supposedly of Philosophy in Anthropology.
revised dissertation to Drs. Manuel, Skandarajah, and Quiason, who
expressed their assent to the dissertation. Petitioners maintain, On the other hand, Dean Paz also wrote a letter to private respondent,
however, that private respondent did not incorporate the revisions dated April 21, 1993, that she would not be granted an academic
suggested by the panel members in the final copies of her dissertation. clearance unless she substantiated the accusations contained in her
letter dated April 17, 1993.
Private respondent left a copy of her dissertation in Dr. Teodoro's office
on April 15, 1993 and proceeded to submit her dissertation to the CSSP In her letter, dated April 27, 1993, private respondent claimed that Dr.
without the approvals of Dr. Medina and Dr. Teodoro, relying on Dean Medina's unfavorable attitude towards her dissertation was a reaction to
Paz's March 5, 1993 statement. her failure to include him and Dr. Francisco in the list of panel
members; that she made the revisions proposed by Drs. Medina and
Dr. Teodoro later indicated his disapproval, while Dr. Medina did not Teodoro in the revised draft of her dissertation; and that Dr. Diokno was
sign the approval form.7 [Records, p. 173.] guilty of harassment.

Dean Paz then accepted private respondent's dissertation in partial In a letter addressed to Dean Paz, dated May 1, 1993, Dr. Medina
fulfillment of the course requirements for the doctorate degree in formally charged private respondent with plagiarism and recommended
Anthropology. that the doctorate granted to her be withdrawn.9 [Rollo, pp. 201-202.]

In a letter to Dean Paz, dated April 17, 1993, private respondent On May 13, 1993, Dean Paz formed an ad hoc committee, composed
expressed concern over matters related to her dissertation. She sought of faculty members from various disciplines and chaired by Dr. Eva
to explain why the signature of Dr. Medina was not affixed to the Duka-Ventura, to investigate the plagiarism charge against private
revision approval form. Private respondent said that since she already respondent. Meanwhile, she recommended to U.P. Diliman Chancellor,
had the approval of a majority of the panel members, she no longer Dr. Emerlinda Roman, that the Ph.D. degree conferred on private
showed her dissertation to Dr. Medina nor tried to obtain the latter's respondent be withdrawn.10 [Id., p. 133.]
signature on the revision approval form. She likewise expressed her
disappointment over the CSSP administration and charged Drs. Diokno In a letter, dated June 7, 1993, Dean Paz informed private respondent
and Medina with maliciously working for the disapproval of her of the charges against her.11 [Records, p. 346.]
dissertation, and further warned Dean Paz against encouraging
perfidious acts against her. On June 15, 1993, the Ventura Committee submitted a report to Dean
Paz, finding at least ninety (90) instances or portions in private
On April 17, 1993, the University Council met to approve the list of respondent's thesis which were lifted from sources without proper or
candidates for graduation for the second semester of school year 1992- due acknowledgment.
On July 28, 1993, the CSSP College Assembly unanimously approved Chancellor Roman, dated September 25, 1993, as well as all her other
the recommendation to withdraw private respondent's doctorate degree communications.
and forwarded its recommendation to the University Council. The
University Council, in turn, approved and endorsed the same On September 19, 1994, Chancellor Posadas obtained the Zafaralla
recommendation to the Board of Regents on August 16, 1993. Committee's report, signed by its chairman, recommending the
withdrawal of private respondent's doctorate degree. The report
On September 6, 1993, the Board of Regents deferred action on the stated:16 [Rollo, p. 137.]
recommendation to study the legal implications of its approval.12 [Id., p.
179.] After going through all the pertinent documents of the case and
interviewing Ms. Arokiaswamy William, the following facts were
Meanwhile, in a letter, dated September 23, 1993, U.P. Diliman established:
Chancellor Emerlinda Roman summoned private respondent to a
meeting on the same day and asked her to submit her written 1...........There is overwhelming evidence of massive lifting from a
explanation to the charges against her. published source word for word and, at times, paragraph by paragraph
without any acknowledgment of the source, even by a mere quotation
During the meeting, Chancellor Roman informed private respondent of mark. At least 22 counts of such documented liftings were identified by
the charges and provided her a copy of the findings of the investigating the Committee. These form part of the approximately ninety (90)
committee.13 [Records, p. 49.] Private respondent, on the other hand, instances found by the Committee created by the Dean of the College
submitted her written explanation in a letter dated September 25, 1993. and subsequently verified as correct by the Special Committee. These
instances involved the following forms of intellectual dishonesty: direct
Another meeting was held on October 8, 1993 between Chancellor lifting/copying without acknowledgment, full/partial lifting with improper
Roman and private respondent to discuss her answer to the charges. A documentation and substitution of terms or words (e.g., Tamil in place
third meeting was scheduled on October 27, 1993 but private of Sanskrit, Tamilization in place of Indianization) from an
respondent did not attend it, alleging that the Board of Regents had acknowledged source in support of her thesis (attached herewith is a
already decided her case before she could be fully heard. copy of the documents for reference); and

On October 11, 1993, private respondent wrote to Dr. Emil Q. Javier, 2...........Ms. Arokiaswamy William herself admits of being guilty of the
U.P. President, alleging that some members of the U.P. administration allegation of plagiarism. Fact is, she informed the Special Committee
were playing politics in her case.14 [Id., p. 409.] She sent another letter, that she had been admitting having lifted several portions in her
dated December 14, 1993, to Dr. Armand Fabella, Chairman of the dissertation from various sources since the beginning.
Board of Regents, complaining that she had not been afforded due
process and claiming that U.P. could no longer withdraw her degree In view of the overwhelming proof of massive lifting and also on the
since her dissertation had already been accepted by the CSSP.15 [Id., admission of Ms. Arokiaswamy William that she indeed plagiarized, the
pp. 403-406.] Committee strongly supports the recommendation of the U.P. Diliman
Council to withdraw the doctoral degree of Ms. Margaret Celine
Meanwhile, the U.P. Office of Legal Services justified the position of the Arokiaswamy William.
University Council in its report to the Board of Regents. The Board of
Regents, in its February 1, 1994 and March 24, 1994 meetings, further On the basis of the report, the University Council, on September 24,
deferred action thereon. 1994, recommended to the Board of Regents that private respondent
be barred in the future from admission to the University either as a
On July 11, 1994, private respondent sent a letter to the Board of student or as an employee.
Regents requesting a re-investigation of her case. She stressed that
under the Rules and Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline, it On January 4, 1995, the secretary of the Board of Regents sent private
was the student disciplinary tribunal which had jurisdiction to decide respondent the following letter:17 [Records, p. 192.]
cases of dishonesty and that the withdrawal of a degree already
conferred was not one of the authorized penalties which the student
disciplinary tribunal could impose. 4 January 1995

On July 28, 1994, the Board of Regents decided to release private Ms. Margaret Celine Arokiaswamy William
respondent's transcript of grades without annotation although it showed Department of Anthropology
that private respondent passed her dissertation with 12 units of credit. College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
U.P. Diliman, Quezon City
On August 17, 1994, Chancellor Roger Posadas issued Administrative
Order No. 94-94 constituting a special committee composed of senior Dear Ms. Arokiaswamy William:
faculty members from the U.P. units outside Diliman to review the
University Council's recommendation to withdraw private respondent's This is to officially inform you about the action taken by the Board of
degree. With the approval of the Board of Regents and the U.P. Diliman Regents at its 1081st and 1082nd meetings held last 17 November and
Executive Committee, Posadas created a five-man committee, chaired 16 December 1994 regarding your case, the excerpts from the minutes
by Dr. Paulino B. Zafaralla, with members selected from a list of of which are attached herewith.
nominees screened by Dr. Emerenciana Arcellana, then a member of
the Board of Regents. On August 31, 1994, the members of the Please be informed that the members present at the 1081st BOR
Zafaralla committee and private respondent met at U.P. Los Baños. meeting on 17 November 1994 resolved, by a majority decision, to
withdraw your Ph.D. degree as recommended by the U.P. Diliman
Meanwhile, on August 23, 1994, the U.P. Diliman Registrar released to University Council and as concurred with by the External Review Panel
private respondent a copy of her transcript of grades and certificate of composed of senior faculty from U.P. Los Baños and U.P. Manila.
graduation. These faculty members were chosen by lot from names submitted by
the University Councils of U.P. Los Baños and U.P. Manila.
In a letter to Chancellor Posadas, dated September 1, 1994, private
respondent requested that the Zafaralla committee be provided with In reply to your 14 December 1994 letter requesting that you be given a
copies of the U.P. Charter (Act No. 1870), the U.P. Rules and good lawyer by the Board, the Board, at its 1082nd meeting on 16
Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline, her letter-response to December 1994, suggested that you direct your request to the Office of
Legal Aid, College of Law, U.P. Diliman.
mandamus. They also contend that she failed to prove that the
Sincerely yours, restoration of her degree is a ministerial duty of U.P. or that the
withdrawal of the degree violated her right to the enjoyment of
(Sgd.) intellectual property.

VIVENCIO R. JOSE On the other hand, private respondent, unassisted by counsel, argue
Secretary of the University that petitioners acted arbitrarily and with grave abuse of discretion in
and of the Board of Regents withdrawing her degree even prior to verifying the truth of the plagiarism
charge against her; and that as her answer to the charges had not been
On January 18, 1995, private respondent wrote a letter to forwarded to the members of the investigating committees, she was
Commissioner Sedfrey Ordoñez, Chairman of the Commission on deprived of the opportunity to comment or refute their findings.
Human Rights, asking the commission's intervention.18 [Commissioner
Ordoñez sent a letter to the Board of Regents requesting it to defer In addition, private respondent maintains that petitioners are estopped
action on private respondent's case until the latter had been given the from withdrawing her doctorate degree; that petitioners acted contrary
opportunity to be heard. U.P. President Emil Q. Javier responded with a to 9 of the U.P. Charter and the U.P. Rules and Regulations on Student
letter, dated February 17, 1995, assuring Commissioner Ordoñez that Conduct and Discipline of the University, which according to her, does
the decision on private respondent's case was arrived at after not authorize the withdrawal of a degree as a penalty for erring
compliance with the requirements of due process.] In a letter, dated students; and that only the college committee or the student disciplinary
February 14, 1995, to Secretary Ricardo Gloria, Chairman of the Board tribunal may decide disciplinary cases, whose report must be signed by
of Regents, she asked for a reinvestigation of her case. She also a majority of its members.
sought an audience with the Board of Regents and/or the U.P.
President, which request was denied by President Javier, in a letter We find petitioners' contention to be meritorious.
dated June 2, 1995.
Mandamus is a writ commanding a tribunal, corporation, board or
On August 10, 1995, private respondent then filed a petition for person to do the act required to be done when it or he unlawfully
mandamus with a prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as
and damages, which was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-95-24690 and a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes
assigned to Branch 81 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City.19 [It another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such
appears that the case was later transferred to Branch 227.] She alleged other is entitled, there being no other plain, speedy, and adequate
that petitioners had unlawfully withdrawn her degree without justification remedy in the ordinary course of law.23 [Rules of Court, Rule 65, 3;
and without affording her procedural due process. She prayed that Anchangco, Jr. v. Ombudsman, 268 SCRA 301 (1997)] In University of
petitioners be ordered to restore her degree and to pay her the Philippines Board of Regents v. Ligot-Telan,24 [227 SCRA 342
P500,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages and P1,500,000.00 as (1993)] this Court ruled that the writ was not available to restrain U.P.
compensation for lost earnings. from the exercise of its academic freedom. In that case, a student who
was found guilty of dishonesty and ordered suspended for one year by
On August 6, 1996, the trial court, Branch 227, rendered a decision the Board of Regents, filed a petition for mandamus and obtained from
dismissing the petition for mandamus for lack of merit.20 [Rollo, pp. 83- the lower court a temporary restraining order stopping U.P. from
97.] Private respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which on carrying out the order of suspension. In setting aside the TRO and
December 16, 1997, reversed the lower court. The dispositive portion of ordering the lower court to dismiss the student's petition, this Court
the appellate court's decision reads:21 [Id., p. 56.] said:

WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo is hereby reversed and The lower court gravely abused its discretion in issuing the writ of
set aside. Respondents are ordered to restore to petitioner her degree preliminary injunction of May 29, 1993. The issuance of the said writ
of Ph.D. in Anthropology. was based on the lower court's finding that the implementation of the
disciplinary sanction of suspension on Nadal "would work injustice to
No pronouncement as to costs. the petitioner as it would delay him in finishing his course, and
consequently, in getting a decent and good paying job." Sadly, such a
SO ORDERED. ruling considers only the situation of Nadal without taking into account
the circumstances, clearly of his own making, which led him into such a
Hence, this petition. Petitioners contend: predicament. More importantly, it has completely disregarded the
overriding issue of academic freedom which provides more than ample
I justification for the imposition of a disciplinary sanction upon an erring
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN student of an institution of higher learning.
GRANTING THE WRIT OF MANDAMUS AND ORDERING
PETITIONERS TO RESTORE RESPONDENT'S DOCTORAL From the foregoing arguments, it is clear that the lower court should
DEGREE. have restrained itself from assuming jurisdiction over the petition filed
by Nadal. Mandamus is never issued in doubtful cases, a showing of a
II clear and certain right on the part of the petitioner being required. It is of
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN no avail against an official or government agency whose duty requires
HOLDING THAT THE DOCTORAL DEGREE GIVEN RESPONDENT the exercise of discretion or judgment.25 [Supra, at 361-362.]
BY U.P. CANNOT BE RECALLED WITHOUT VIOLATING HER RIGHT
TO ENJOYMENT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TO JUSTICE In this case, the trial court dismissed private respondent's petition
AND EQUITY. precisely on grounds of academic freedom but the Court of Appeals
reversed holding that private respondent was denied due process. It
III said:
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN
DEPRIVING PETITIONERS OF THEIR RIGHT TO SUBSTANTIVE It is worthy to note that during the proceedings taken by the College
DUE PROCESS.22 [Rollo, pp. 33-34.] Assembly culminating in its recommendation to the University Council
for the withdrawal of petitioner's Ph.D. degree, petitioner was not given
Petitioners argue that private respondent failed to show that she had the chance to be heard until after the withdrawal of the degree was
been unlawfully excluded from the use and enjoyment of a right or consummated. Petitioner's subsequent letters to the U.P. President
office to which she is entitled so as to justify the issuance of the writ of proved unavailing.26 [Rollo, pp. 54-55.]
women of the highest intellectual acumen and integrity, as respondents
As the foregoing narration of facts in this case shows, however, various themselves aver, suspicion is aroused that the alleged "mistake" might
committees had been formed to investigate the charge that private not be the cause of withdrawal but some other hidden agenda which
respondent had committed plagiarism and, in all the investigations held, respondents do not wish to reveal.
she was heard in her defense. Indeed, if any criticism may be made of
the university proceedings before private respondent was finally At any rate, We cannot countenance the plight the petitioner finds
stripped of her degree, it is that there were too many committee and herself enmeshed in as a consequence of the acts complained of.
individual investigations conducted, although all resulted in a finding Justice and equity demand that this be rectified by restoring the degree
that private respondent committed dishonesty in submitting her doctoral conferred to her after her compliance with the academic and other
dissertation on the basis of which she was conferred the Ph.D. degree. related requirements.

Indeed, in administrative proceedings, the essence of due process is Art. XIV, 5 (2) of the Constitution provides that "[a]cademic freedom
simply the opportunity to explain one's side of a controversy or a shall be enjoyed in all institutions of higher learning." This is nothing
chance to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.27 new. The 1935 Constitution35 [Art. XIV, 5.] and the 1973 Constitution36
[Helpmate, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. 112323, [Art. XV, 8 (2)] likewise provided for the academic freedom or, more
July 28, 1997; M. Ramirez Industries v. The Honorable Secretary of precisely, for the institutional autonomy of universities and institutions of
Labor and Employment, G.R. 89894, January 3, 1997.] A party who has higher learning. As pointed out by this Court in Garcia v. Faculty
availed of the opportunity to present his position cannot tenably claim to Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology,37 [68 SCRA 277
have been denied due process.28 [Naguiat v. National Labor Relations (1975)] it is a freedom granted to "institutions of higher learning" which
Commission, 269 SCRA 564 (1997)] is thus given "a wide sphere of authority certainly extending to the
choice of students." If such institution of higher learning can decide who
In this case, private respondent was informed in writing of the charges can and who cannot study in it, it certainly can also determine on whom
against her29 [Records, pp. 48-49.] and afforded opportunities to refute it can confer the honor and distinction of being its graduates.
them. She was asked to submit her written explanation, which she
forwarded on September 25, 1993.30 [Id., pp. 50-58.] Private Where it is shown that the conferment of an honor or distinction was
respondent then met with the U.P. chancellor and the members of the obtained through fraud, a university has the right to revoke or withdraw
Zafaralla committee to discuss her case. In addition, she sent several the honor or distinction it has thus conferred. This freedom of a
letters to the U.P. authorities explaining her position.31 [Id., pp. 59-65; university does not terminate upon the "graduation" of a student, as the
79-80.] Court of Appeals held. For it is precisely the "graduation" of such a
student that is in question. It is noteworthy that the investigation of
It is not tenable for private respondent to argue that she was entitled to private respondent's case began before her graduation. If she was able
have an audience before the Board of Regents. Due process in an to join the graduation ceremonies on April 24, 1993, it was because of
administrative context does not require trial-type proceedings similar to too many investigations conducted before the Board of Regents finally
those in the courts of justice.32 [National Federation of Labor v. NLRC, decided she should not have been allowed to graduate.
283 SCRA 275 (1997)] It is noteworthy that the U.P. Rules do not
require the attendance of persons whose cases are included as items Wide indeed is the sphere of autonomy granted to institutions of higher
on the agenda of the Board of Regents.33 [University of the Philippines learning, for the constitutional grant of academic freedom, to quote
v. Ligot-Telan, 227 SCRA 342 (1993)] again from Garcia v. Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of
Theology, "is not to be construed in a niggardly manner or in a grudging
Nor indeed was private respondent entitled to be furnished a copy of fashion."
the report of the Zafaralla committee as part of her right to due process.
In Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong,34 [222 SCRA 644 (1993)] Under the U.P. Charter, the Board of Regents is the highest governing
we held: body of the University of the Philippines.38 [Act No. 1870, 4.] It has the
power to confer degrees upon the recommendation of the University
Respondent students may not use the argument that since they were Council.39 [Id., 9.] It follows that if the conferment of a degree is
not accorded the opportunity to see and examine the written statements founded on error or fraud, the Board of Regents is also empowered,
which became the basis of petitioners' February 14, 1991 order, they subject to the observance of due process, to withdraw what it has
were denied procedural due process. Granting that they were denied granted without violating a student's rights. An institution of higher
such opportunity, the same may not be said to detract from the learning cannot be powerless if it discovers that an academic degree it
observance of due process, for disciplinary cases involving students has conferred is not rightfully deserved. Nothing can be more
need not necessarily include the right to cross examination. An objectionable than bestowing a university's highest academic degree
administrative proceeding conducted to investigate students' upon an individual who has obtained the same through fraud or deceit.
participation in a hazing activity need not be clothed with the attributes The pursuit of academic excellence is the university's concern. It should
of a judicial proceeding. . . be empowered, as an act of self-defense, to take measures to protect
itself from serious threats to its integrity.
In this case, in granting the writ of mandamus, the Court of Appeals
held: While it is true that the students are entitled to the right to pursue their
education, the USC as an educational institution is also entitled to
First. Petitioner graduated from the U.P. with a doctorate degree in pursue its academic freedom and in the process has the concomitant
Anthropology. After graduation, the contact between U.P. and petitioner right to see to it that this freedom is not jeopardized.40 [Licup v.
ceased. Petitioner is no longer within the ambit of the disciplinary University of San Carlos, 178 SCRA 637 (1989)]
powers of the U.P. As a graduate, she is entitled to the right and
enjoyment of the degree she has earned. To recall the degree, after In the case at bar, the Board of Regents determined, after due
conferment, is not only arbitrary, unreasonable, and an act of abuse, investigation conducted by a committee composed of faculty members
but a flagrant violation of petitioner's right of enjoyment to intellectual from different U.P. units, that private respondent committed no less
property. than ninety (90) instances of intellectual dishonesty in her dissertation.
The Board of Regents' decision to withdraw private respondent's
Second. Respondents aver that petitioner's graduation was a mistake. doctorate was based on documents on record including her admission
that she committed the offense.41 [Records, p. 192.]
Unfortunately this "mistake" was arrived at after almost a year after
graduation. Considering that the members of the thesis panel, the On the other hand, private respondent was afforded the opportunity to
College Faculty Assembly, and the U.P. Council are all men and be heard and explain her side but failed to refute the charges of
plagiarism against her. Her only claim is that her responses to the fixed period starting June 1, 1983 up to March 31, 1984. Upon mutual
charges against her were not considered by the Board of Regents agreement the contract was extended to include the summer of 1984
before it rendered its decision. However, this claim was not proven. up to May 31, 1984 which is still part of the school-year 1983-1984.
Accordingly, we must presume regularity in the performance of official
duties in the absence of proof to the contrary.42 [Rules of Court, Rule Upon expiration of said period he sent a letter re-applying for
131, 3 (m)] employment with the petitioner.

Very much the opposite of the position of the Court of Appeals that, His application, however, was turned down because of various
since private respondent was no longer a student of the U.P., the latter complaints from his students borne out by the report of his superiors
was no longer within the "ambit of disciplinary powers of the U.P.," is who investigated the matter. 1
private respondent's contention that it is the Student Disciplinary
Tribunal which had jurisdiction over her case because the charge is Thus, he filed a complaint in the Regional Arbitration Office of the
dishonesty. Private respondent invokes 5 of the U.P. Rules and National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in Cagayan City for
Regulations on Student Conduct and Discipline which provides: illegal dismissal with reinstatement, payment of backwages, moral
damages and attorney's fees.
Jurisdiction. - All cases involving discipline of students under these Included in the complaint were claims for underpayment of salary,
rules shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the student disciplinary allowances, wage orders and his share in tuition fee increases per
tribunal, except the following cases which shall fall under the jurisdiction Presidential Decree No. 451. It was docketed as NLRC Case No. RAB-
of the appropriate college or unit; C-0513-84.

(a)..........Violation of college or unit rules and regulations by students of On the other hand, respondent Pagapong was initially hired as a
the college, or probationary instructor in the High School Department of petitioner
college on June 15, 1981 on a contractual basis to end on March 31,
(b)..........Misconduct committed by students of the college or unit within 1982. Upon re-application her contract was renewed for another fixed
its classrooms or premises or in the course of an official activity; period covering June 1, 1982 up to March 31, 1983. Her employment
was on a probationary basis. Similarly, a third contract was executed by
Provided, that regional units of the University shall have original the petitioner college covering the period starting June 15, 1983 and
jurisdiction over all cases involving students of such units. ending on March 31, 1984. Upon the termination of the said third
contract respondent Pagapong wrote to petitioner seeking re-
Private respondent argues that under 25 (a) of the said Rules and employment. Her application was accompanied by a clearance.
Regulations, dishonesty in relation to one's studies (i.e., plagiarism) However, her application was denied upon the recommendation of her
may be punished only with suspension for at least one (1) year. immediate superiors who considered her inefficient.

As the above-quoted provision of 5 of the Rules and Regulations Thus, she filed with the Regional Arbitration Branch of the NLRC a
indicates, the jurisdiction of the student disciplinary tribunal extends complaint for illegal dismissal with reinstatement, with backwages,
only to disciplinary actions. In this case, U.P. does not seek to discipline moral damages and attorney's fees. She also included claims for
private respondent. Indeed, as the appellate court observed, private underpayment of wages, allowances, wage orders and non-payment of
respondent is no longer within "the ambit of disciplinary powers of the shares in tuition fee increases per Presidential Decree No. 451. It was
U.P." Private respondent cannot even be punished since, as she docketed as NLRC Case No. RAB-C-0560-84.
claims, the penalty for acts of dishonesty in administrative disciplinary
proceedings is suspension from the University for at least one year. The cases of respondents Villegas and Pagapong were jointly heard
What U.P., through the Board of Regents, seeks to do is to protect its upon agreement of the parties, the issues and facts being identical.
academic integrity by withdrawing from private respondent an academic
degree she obtained through fraud. In their position paper, private respondents Villegas and Pagapong
alleged that they were dismissed by petitioners without valid grounds
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby and that they were deprived of their constitutional right to due process
REVERSED and the petition for mandamus is hereby DISMISSED. and security of tenure. They also raised the issue of non-compliance
with presidential decrees and wage orders pertaining to the payment of
SO ORDERED. emergency cost of living allowance (ECOLA) and their basic salary,
including non-payment of their shares in tuition fee increases under
CASE 7 Presidential Decree No. 451.
CAGAYAN CAPITOL COLLEGE AND LAUREANA S. ROSALES,
petitioners, vs. THE HON. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS Petitioners, on the other hand, filed their position paper and
COMMISSION, VIRGILIO P. VILLEGAS AND LEONOR PAGAPONG, supplemental manifestations wherein they denied that private
respondents.1990 September 141st DivisionG.R. Nos. 90010-11D E respondents were illegally dismissed. They maintained that the private
CISION respondents alleged employment contracts on a probation basis
expired and that the same were not renewed because their
GANCAYCO, J.: performances were considered unsatisfactory while they were on
probation. Petitioners further contended that private respondents, as
The propriety of the reinstatement of private respondents as faculty probationary employees, did not qualify for tenureship as their services
members of petitioner college is the issue submitted in this petition. on probation, upon evaluation, did not reach the standard prescribed for
probationary employees. Petitioners also denied that private
Private respondents Virgilio Villegas and Leonor Pagapong were respondents are entitled to backwages, since they were not illegally
teachers on a probational basis of the petitioner college. dismissed and asserted that they have been paid their wages,
allowances and their shares in tuition fee increases and that they were
Villegas was initially hired as an instructor in the Nautical Science not entitled to moral damages and attorney's fees.
Department of said petitioner and was extended an appointment on a
ten-month contractual basis which ended on March 31, 1982. On August 8, 1985, a decision was rendered by Executive Labor Arbiter
Ildefonso G. Agbuya dismissing the complaint for illegal dismissal
Upon expiration of said contract he re-applied and was given a new based on the following disquisition:
contract commencing on June 1, 1982 and ending on March 31, 1983.
Thereafter he re-applied for employment and was given a contract for a
"From the above-quoted portion of the parties' position paper it is MANUAL OF REGULATIONS FOR PRIVATE SCHOOLS, 7th
undisputed that Complainants were hired on a ten (10) months EDITION, 1970, THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND
contractual basis as faculty members for a period of three (3) OTHER APPLICABLE LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE BY RULING
consecutive contracts of employment (school year). Based on these THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS HAVE ACQUIRED PERMANENT
facts alone, the complaint for illegal dismissal should be dismissed EMPLOYMENT STATUS AND CANNOT BE DISMISSED EXCEPT
because it is judicial knowledge that probationary period of instructors FOR CAUSE.
or faculty members of any particular school pursuant to the rules of the
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports is for three (3) years. Since II.
the employment of Complainants fall (sic) within the probationary period THAT PUBLIC RESPONDENT NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
of three (3) years, it is therefore management's prerogative whether to COMMISSION COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND
renew the same for permanency or stop the relationship as what SERIOUSLY ERRED IN THE INTERPRETATION OF EXISTING LAWS
happened in this particular cases (sic). We are limiting the basis of our AND JURISPRUDENCE BY RULING THAT THE ACT OF
opinion on the probationary period provided for by the Ministry of PETITIONERS IN NOT RENEWING THE TEACHING CONTRACTS
Education, Culture and Sports and need not discuss the merits as OF PRIVATE RESPONDENTS IS TANTAMOUNT TO ILLEGAL
argued by both parties in their respective position paper (sic)." (pp. 211- DISMISSAL AND IN CONSEQUENTLY ORDERING THEIR
212, Records)." 2 REINSTATEMENT WITH BACKWAGES." 5

Private respondents appealed said decision to the NLRC which In the same petition is a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
rendered a decision on May 30, 1989 modifying the appealed decision injunction to restrain the public respondent from enforcing the
in this manner: questioned decision dated May 30, 1989 pending resolution of the
petition. In sum, the petitioner prays for the annulment of said decision
"After a careful review of the records and based on the foregoing facts, dated May 30, 1989 and the resolution dated July 28, 1989
we find and so hold that the Labor Arbiter committed reversible error. promulgated by the NLRC.

It is an undisputed fact that complainant Virgilio Villegas worked with Acting on the petition, the Court, on October 4, 1989, without giving due
respondent Cagayan Capitol College for six (6) consecutive regular course to the petition, required the respondents to comment thereon
semesters, as college instructor, while complainant Leonor Pagapong within ten (10) days from notice and issued a temporary restraining
worked with the same respondent for three (3) consecutive years as order enjoining the public respondent from enforcing the questioned
classroom teacher. decision and resolution and further required petitioner to file a bond in
the amount of P20,000.00 within forty-eight (48) hours from notice.
In this regard, the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools expressly
provides that '. . . probationary period for academic personnel shall not After careful deliberation on the petition, the comment thereto of
be more than . . . six (6) consecutive regular semesters for those in the respondents and the memoranda of the parties, the Court finds that the
tertiary level'. (Section 102 of the Manual, 7th Edition, 1984). The same petition is impressed with merit.
Manual also provides that 'full-time teachers who have rendered three
(3) consecutive years of satisfactory service shall be considered There is no question that private respondents were probationary
permanent' (Section 75, ibid.). teachers.

Based on this Manual of Regulations of Private Schools both Thus, they are covered by the policy instructions issued by the
complainants obtained permanent status in their appointment with the Department of Labor and Employment that the probationary
respondent Cagayan Capitol College and cannot be dismissed except employment of professional instructors and teachers shall be subject to
for cause. The non-renewal of their employment contract with the the standards established by the Department of Education and Culture.
respondent is therefore tantamount to illegal dismissal. Hence, Said standards are embodied in paragraph 75 of the Manual of
complainants are entitled to reinstatement with backwages and other Regulations for Private Schools, as follows:
benefits.
"75. Full time teachers who have rendered three (3) consecutive years
As regards the claim for moral and exemplary damages, we concur with of satisfactory services shall be considered permanent."
the findings of the Labor Arbiter that the same is without basis. We
likewise adopt the award of attorney's fees of 10% out of the total In University of Sto. Tomas vs. National Labor Relations Commission,
monetary award that complainants may receive. 6 this Court in interpreting the foregoing rule, held that the legal
requisites for a teacher to acquire permanent employment and security
WHEREFORE, the appealed Decision is hereby MODIFIED, declaring of tenure are as follows:
respondents guilty of illegal dismissal and ordering respondents to
reinstate complainants to their former position or any equivalent "(1) The teacher is a full time teacher;
position with three (3) years backwages without qualification or
deduction. (2) The teacher must have rendered three (3) consecutive years of
service; and
Respondents are likewise ordered to pay 10% of the total award as
attorney's fee. (3) Such service must have been satisfactory."

The claims for moral and exemplary damages are dismissed for lack of There is no question that private respondents have been employed for
merit." 3 three (3) consecutive years as teachers at petitioners' college and on a
full time basis. However, they do not automatically become permanent
A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioners but this was denied unless it is shown that their services during the probationary period
by the public respondent in a resolution dated July 28, 1989. 4 Hence were satisfactory.
this petition wherein petitioners assail the said decision of public
respondent based on the following grounds: The contention of respondents that upon termination of the three-year
probationary period the teacher automatically becomes permanent is
"I. not quite correct. It must be conditioned on the compliance with the
THAT THE HON. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION third requisite that the services of said teacher during the probationary
COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND SERIOUSLY period was satisfactory.
ERRED IN INTERPRETING THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE
The employer is the one who is to set the standards and determine On March 27, 1998, private respondent Capco filed a certificate of
whether or not the services of an employee are satisfactory. It is the candidacy for mayor of Pateros relative to the May 11, 1998 elections.
prerogative of an employer to determine whether or not the said Petitioner Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was also a candidate for mayor,
standards have been complied with. In fact, it is the right of the sought Capco’s disqualification on the theory that the latter would have
employer to shorten the probationary period if he is impressed with the already served as mayor for three consecutive terms by June 30, 1998
services of the employees. and would therefore be ineligible to serve for another term after that.

This prerogative of a school to provide standards for its teachers and to On April 30, 1998, the Second Division of the Commission on Elections
determine whether or not these standards have been met is in ruled in favor of petitioner and declared private respondent Capco
accordance with academic freedom and constitutional autonomy which disqualified from running for reelection as mayor of Pateros.2 [Id., pp.
give educational institution the right to choose who should teach. 7 63-71] However, on motion of private respondent, the COMELEC en
banc, voting 5-2, reversed the decision and declared Capco eligible to
At the start of their employment, private respondents were duly run for mayor in the May 11, 1998 elections.3 [Id., pp. 30-32.] The
furnished the Faculty Manual expressly stating among others, the majority stated in its decision:
duties of teachers and the grounds for termination of employment or
non-appointment to permanent In both the Constitution and the Local Government Code, the three-
status of a probationary employee. term limitation refers to the term of office for which the local official was
elected. It made no reference to succession to an office to which he
In the case of respondent Villegas, it appears that there were was not elected. In the case before the Commission, respondent Capco
complaints of students during his last year of service and that these was not elected to the position of mayor in the January 18, 1988 local
complaints were duly investigated by the Acting Dean of the Nautical elections. He suecceeded to such office by operation of law ans served
Department who came up with the report of the acts complained of. 8 for the unexpired term of his predecessor. Consequently, such
successioin into office is not counted as one (1) term for purposes of
Thus, his performance was considered unsatisfactory and was not the computation of the three-term limitation under the Consittution and
renewed by petitioner college after the third year. That he was made to the Loca Government Code.
teach in the summer of 1984 appears to be prompted by the fact that
the summer sessions were still part of the third probationary period Accordingly, private respondent was voted for in the elections. He
which started in July of the first semester of school year 1981-82. received 16,558 votes against petitioner’s 7,773 votes and was
proclaimed elected by the Municipal Board of Canvassers.
Similarly, respondent Pagapong was found to be inefficient due to her
absences. This is a petition for certiorari brought to set aside the resolution, dated
May 7, 1998, of he COMELEC and to seed a declaration that private
The Court thus finds and so holds that private respondents were not respondent is disqualified to serve another term as Mayor of Pateros,
illegally dismissed by petitioner. Metro Manila.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the questioned Peitioner contends that private respondent Capco’s servce as mayor
decision and resolution of the National Labor Relations Commission from September 2, 1989 to June 30, 992 should be considered as
dated May 30, 1989 and July 28, 1989, respectively, are hereby SET service for full one term, and since he thereafter served from 1992 to
ASIDE and another decision is hereby rendered DISMISSING the 1998 two more terms as mayor, he should be considered to have seved
complaints filed by private respondents. The restraining order issued by three consecutive terms within the contemplation of Art. X, §8 of the
the Court on October 4, 1989 is hereby made permanent. Constitution and §43(b) of the Local Government Code. Petitioner
stresses the fact that, upon the death of Mayor Cesar Borja on
SO ORDERED. September 2, 1989, private respondent became the mayor and
thereafter served the remainder of the term. Petitioner argues that it is
LOCAL GOVERNMENT irrelevant that private respondent became mayor by succession
because the purpose of the constitutional provision in limiting the
Case 1 number of terms elective local officials may serve is to prevent a
monopolization of political power.
[1998V576E] BENJAMIN U. BORJA, JR., petitioner vs. COMMISSION
ON ELECTIONS and JOSE T. CAPCO, JR., respondents.1998 Sep This contention will not bear analysis. Article X, §8 of the Constitution
3En BancG.R. No. 133495D E C I S I O N provides:

SEC. 8. The term of office of elective local officials, except barangay


MENDOZA, J.: officials, which shall be determined by law, shall be three years and no
such official shall serve for more than three consecutive terms.
This case presents for determination the scope of the constitutional Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be
provision barring elective officials, with the exception of barangay considered as an interruption in the continuity of his service for the full
officials, from serving more than three consecutive terms. In particular, term for which he was elected.
the question is whether a vice-mayor who succeeds to the office of
mayor by operation of law and serves the remainder of the term is This provision is restated in §43(b) of the Local Government Code (R.A.
considered to have served a term in that office for the purpse of the No. 7160):
three-term limit.
Sec. 43. Term of Office - . . .
Private respondent Jose T. Capco, Jr. was elected vice-mayor of
Pateros on January 18, 1988 for a term ending June 30, 1992. On (b) No local elective official shall serve for more than three (3)
September 2, 1989, he became mayor, by operation of law, upon the consecutive terms in the same position. Voluntary renunciation of the
death of the incumbent, Cesar Borja. On May 11, 1992, he ran and was office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in
elected mayor for a term of three years which ended on June 30, 1995. the continuity of service for the full term for which the elective official
On May 8, 1995, he was reelected mayor for another term of three concerned was elected.
years ending June 30, 1998.1 [Rollo, pp. 5-6, 124-125.]
First, to prevent the establishment of political dynasties is not the only
policy embodied in the constitutional provision in question. The other
policy is that of enhancing the freedom of choiceof the people. To e term
consider, therefore, only stay in office regardless of how the official rule?
concerned came to that office whether by election or by succession by
operation of law would be to disregard one of the purposes of the
constitutional provision in question.
THE FACTS:
Thus, a consideration of the historical background of Art. X, §8 of the
Constitution reveals that the members of the Constitutional Commission
were as much concerned with preserving the freedom of choice of the
For four (4) successive regular elections, namely, the 2001,
people as they were with preventing the monopolization of political
2004, 2007 and 2010 national and local elections, Abundo vied for the
power. Indeed, they rejected a proposal put forth by Commissioner
position of municipal mayor of Viga, Catanduanes. In both the 2001 and
Edmundo F. Garcia that after serving three consecutive terms or nine
2007 runs, he emerged and was proclaimed as the winning mayoralty
years there should be no further reelection for local and legislative
candidate and accordingly served the corresponding terms as mayor. In
officials. Instead, they adopted the alternative proposal of
the 2004 electoral derby, however, the Viga municipal board of
Commissioner Christian Monsod that such officials be simply barred
canvassers initially proclaimed as winner one Jose Torres (Torres),
from running for the same position in the succeeding election following
who, in due time, performed the functions of the office of mayor.
the expiration of the third consecutive term.4 [2 RECORD OF THE
Abundo protested Torres’ election and proclamation. Abundo was
CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION 236-243 (Session of July 25, 1986)
eventually declared the winner of the 2004 mayoralty electoral contest,
(hereafter cited as RECORD)] Monsod warned against "prescreening
paving the way for his assumption of office starting May 9, 2006 until
candidates [from] whom the people will choose" as a result of the
the end of the 2004-2007 term on June 30, 2007, or for a period of a
proposed absolute disqualification, considering that the draft
little over one year and one month.
constitution provision "recognizing people’s power."5 [Id., at 236.]

Commissioner Blas F. Ople, who supported the Monsod proposal, said:


Then came the May 10, 2010 elections where Abundo and
The principle involved is really TIMED OUT Torres again opposed each other. When Abundo filed his certificate of
candidacy for the mayoralty seat relative to this electoral contest,
CASE 2 Torres lost no time in seeking the former’s disqualification to run, the
corresponding petition, docketed as SPA Case No. 10-128 (DC),
predicated on the three-consecutive term limit rule. On June 16, 2010,
the COMELEC First Division issued a Resolution finding for Abundo,
MAYOR ABELARDO who in the meantime bested Torres by 219 Votes and was accordingly
ABUNDO., SR. VS. proclaimed 2010 mayor-elect of Viga, Catanduanes.
COMELEC & ERNESTO
VEGA, G.R. No. 201716,
JANUARY 08, 2013
Meanwhile, on May 21, 2010, or before the COMELEC could
resolve the adverted disqualification case Torres initiated against
Abundo, herein private respondent Ernesto R. Vega (Vega)
In 2001, he commenced a quo warranto7 action before the RTC-Br. 43 in Virac,
won as Catanduanes, docketed as Election Case No. 55, to unseat Abundo on
Mayor. In essentially the same grounds Torres raised in his petition to disqualify.
2004, his
opponent
was
initially By Decision8 of August 9, 2010 in Election Case No. 55, the
proclaimed RTC declared Abundo ineligible to serve as municipal mayor, disposing
winner but as follows:
on Protest,
he was
declared
WHEREFORE, Decision is,
Mayor in
hereby, rendered GRANTING
May, 2006
the petition and declaring
so he was
Abelardo Abundo, Sr. ineligible
able to
to serve as municipal mayor of
serve 1
Viga, Catanduanes.
year of his
supposed
3-year
term. In In so ruling, the trial court, citing Aldovino, Jr. v. COMELEC found
2007, he Abundo to have already served three consecutive mayoralty terms, to
won again wit, 2001-2004, 2004-2007 and 2007-2010, and, hence, disqualified for
as Mayor. another, i.e., fourth, consecutive term. Abundo, the RTC noted, had
May he run been declared winner in the aforesaid 2004 elections consequent to his
for Mayor protest and occupied the position of and actually served as Viga mayor
in the May for over a year of the remaining term, i.e., from May 9, 2006 to June 30,
2010 2007, to be exact.
elections
without
violating
the 3- To the RTC, the year and a month service constitutes a
consecutiv complete and full
service of Abundo’s second term as mayor. Therefrom, Abundo
appealed to the COMELEC, his recourse docketed as EAC (AE) No. A-
25-2010. Core Issue:

On February 8, 2012, in EAC (AE) No. A-25-2010, the Whether or not Abundo is deemed to have served three (3)
COMELEC’s Second Division rendered the first assailed Resolution, consecutive terms
the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:

The pivotal determinative issue then is whether the service of


WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the a term less than the full three years by an elected official arising from
decision of the his being declared as the duly elected official upon an election protest is
considered as full service of the term for purposes of the application of
Regional Trial Court Branch 73, Virac, the three consecutive term limit for elective local officials.
Catanduanes is AFFIRMED and

the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit.


On this core issue, We find the petition meritorious. The
consecutiveness of what otherwise would have been Abundo’s three
successive, continuous mayorship was effectively broken during the
Just like the RTC, the COMELEC’s Second Division ruled 2004- 2007 term when he was initially deprived of title to, and was
against Abundo on the strength of Aldovino, Jr. and held that service of veritably disallowed to serve and occupy, an office to which he, after
the unexpired portion of a term by a protestant who is declared winner due proceedings, was eventually declared to have been the rightful
in an election protest is considered as service for one full term within choice of the electorate.
the contemplation of the three-term limit rule.

The three-term limit rule for elective local officials, a


In time, Abundo sought but was denied reconsideration by the disqualification rule, is found in Section 8, Article X of the 1987
COMELEC en banc per its equally assailed Resolution of May 10, Constitution, which provides:
2012. The COMELEC en banc’s Resolution reads as follows:

Sec. 8. The term of office of elective local


WHEREFORE, premises considered, the motion for officials, except barangay officials, which shall be
determined by law, shall be three years and no
reconsideration is DENIED for lack of merit. The such official shall serve for more than three
Resolution of the consecutive terms.
Commission (Second Division) is hereby Voluntary renunciation of the office for
AFFIRMED. any length of time shall not be considered as an
interruption in the continuity of his service for the
SO ORDERED.12 fullterm for which he was elected. (Emphasis
supplied.)

In affirming the Resolution of its Second Division, the


COMELEC en banc held in essence the following: first, there was no and is reiterated in Sec. 43(b) of Republic Act No. (RA) 7160,
involuntary interruption of Abundo’s 2004-2007 term service which or the Local
would be an exception to the three-term limit rule as he is considered
never to have lost title to the disputed office after he won in his election Government Code (LGC) of 1991, thusly:
protest; and second, what the Constitution prohibits is for an elective
official to be in office for the same position for more than three
consecutive terms and not to the service of the term.
Sec. 43. Term of Office. —

On June 29, 2012, the COMELEC ECAD Bailiff personally


delivered the entire records of the instant case to, and were duly (b) No local elective official shall serve for more
received by, the clerk of court of RTC-Br. 43. On June 29, 2012, or on than three (3)
the same day of its receipt of the case records, the RTC-Br. 43 in Virac,
Catanduanes granted Vega’s Motion for Execution through an Order of consecutive terms in the same position.
even date. And a Writ of Execution19 was issued on the same day. On Voluntary renunciation of the
July 2, 2012, Sheriff Q. Tador, Jr. received the Writ of Execution and
served the same at the office of Mayor Abundo on the same day via office for any length of time shall not be considered
substituted service. On July 3, 2012, the Court issued a TRO20 as an interruption in
enjoining the enforcement of the assailed COMELEC Resolutions. On
July 4, 2012, Vega received the Court’s July 3, 2012 Resolution21 and the continuity of service for the full term for which
a copy of the TRO. On the same day, Vice-Mayor Emeterio M. Tarin the elective official
and First Councilor Cesar O. Cervantes of Viga, Catanduanes took their
concerned was elected.
oaths of office22 as mayor and vice-mayor of Viga, Catanduanes,
respectively.
To constitute a disqualification to run for an elective local This brings us to an examination of situations and
office pursuant to the aforequoted constitutional and statutory jurisprudence wherein such consecutive terms were considered or not
provisions, the following requisites must concur. considered as having been “involuntarily interrupted or broken.”

(1) Assumption of Office by Operation of Law


In Borja, Jr. v. Commission on Elections and Jose T.
(1) that the official concerned has been elected for Capco, Jr. (1998) and Montebon v. Commission on Elections
three consecutive (2008), the Court delved on the effects of “assumption to office by
operation of law” on the three-term limit rule. This contemplates a
terms in the same local government post; and situation wherein an elective local official fills by succession a higher
local government post permanently left vacant due to any of the
(2) that he has fully served three consecutive following contingencies, i.e., when the supposed incumbent refuses to
terms. assume office, fails to qualify, dies, is removed from office, voluntarily
resigns or is otherwise permanently incapacitated to discharge the
functions of his office.
Judging from extant jurisprudence, the three-term limit rule,
In Borja, Jr., Jose T. Capco, Jr. (Capco) was elected vice-
as applied to the different factual milieus, has its complicated side. We
mayor of Pateros on January 18, 1988 for a term ending June 30, 1992.
shall revisit and analyze the various holdings and relevant
On September 2, 1989, Capco became mayor, by operation of law,
pronouncements of the Court on the matter.
upon the death of the incumbent mayor, Cesar Borja. Capco was then
elected and served as mayor for terms 1992-1995 and 1995 1998.
When Capco expressed his intention to run again for the mayoralty
As is clearly provided in Sec. 8, Art. X of the Constitution as position during the 1998 elections, Benjamin U. Borja, Jr., who was
well as in Sec. 43(b) of the LGC, voluntary renunciation of the office by then also a candidate for mayor, sought Capco’s disqualification for
the incumbent elective local official for any length of time shall NOT, in violation of the three-term limit rule.
determining service for three consecutive terms, be considered an
interruption in the continuity of service for the full term for which the Finding for Capco, the Court held that for the disqualification
elective official concerned was elected. In Aldovino, Jr., however, the rule to apply, “it is not enough that an individual has served three
Court stated the observation that the law “does not textually state that consecutive terms in an elective local office, he must also have been
voluntary renunciation is the only actual interruption of service that does elected to the same position for the same number of times before the
not affect ‘continuity of service for a full term’ for purposes of the three- disqualification can apply.” There was, the Court ruled, no violation of
term limit rule.” the three-term limit, for Capco “was not elected to the office of the
mayor in the first term but simply found himself thrust into it by
operation of law” when a permanent vacancy occurred in that office.

As stressed in Socrates v. Commission on Elections, the The Court arrived at a parallel conclusion in the case of
principle behind the three-term limit rule covers only consecutive terms Montebon. There, Montebon had been elected for three consecutive
and that what the Constitution prohibits is a consecutive fourth term. terms as municipal councilor of Tuburan, Cebu in 1998-2001, 2001-
Put a bit differently, an elective local official cannot, following his third 2004, and 2004-2007. However, in January 2004, or during his second
consecutive term, seek immediate reelection for a fourth term,34 albeit term, Montebon succeeded and assumed the position of vice-mayor of
he is allowed to seek a fresh term for the same position after the Tuburan when the incumbent vice-mayor retired. When Montebon filed
election where he could have sought his fourth term but prevented to do his certificate of candidacy again as municipal councilor, a petition for
so by reason of the prohibition. There has, in fine, to be a break or disqualification was filed against him based on the three-term limit rule.
interruption in the successive terms of the official after his or her third The Court ruled that Montebon’s assumption of office as vice-mayor in
term. An interruption usually occurs when the official does not seek a January 2004 was an interruption of
fourth term, immediately following the third. Of course, the basic law is
unequivocal that a “voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of his continuity of service as councilor. The Court emphasized that
time shall NOT be considered an interruption in the continuity of service succession in local government office is by operation of law and
for the full term for which the elective official concerned was elected.” as such, it is an involuntary severance from office. Since the law no
This qualification was made as a deterrent against an elective local less allowed Montebon to vacate his post as councilor in order to
official intending to skirt the three-term limit rule by merely resigning assume office as vice mayor, his occupation of the higher office cannot,
before his or her third term ends. This is a voluntary interruption as without more, be deemed as a voluntary renunciation of his position as
distinguished from involuntary interruption which may be brought about councilor.
by certain events or causes.
(2) Recall Election

With reference to the effects of recall election on the


While appearing to be seemingly simple, the three-term limit continuity of service, Adormeo v. Commission on Elections (2002)
rule has engendered a host of disputes resulting from the varying and the aforementioned case of Socrates (2002) provide guidance.
interpretations applied on local officials who were elected and served
In Adormeo, Ramon Talaga, Jr. (Talaga) was elected and
for three terms or more, but whose terms or service was punctuated by
served as mayor of Lucena City during terms 1992-1995 and 1995-
what they view as involuntary interruptions, thus entitling them to a, but
1998. During the 1998 elections, Talaga lost to Bernard G. Tagarao.
what their opponents perceive as a proscribed, fourth term. Involuntary
However, before Tagarao’s 1998-2001 term ended, a recall election
interruption is claimed to result from any of these events or causes:
was conducted in May 2000 wherein Talaga won and served the
succession or assumption of office by operation of law, preventive
unexpired term of Tagarao until June 2001. When Talaga ran for mayor
suspension, declaration of the defeated candidate as the winner in an
in 2001, his candidacy was challenged on the ground he had already
election contest, declaration of the proclaimed candidate as the losing
served as mayor for three consecutive terms for violation of the three
party in an election contest, proclamation of a noncandidate as the
term-limit rule. The Court held therein that the remainder of Tagarao’s
winner in a recall election, removal of the official by operation of law,
term after the recall election during which Talaga served as mayor
and other analogous causes.
should not be considered for purposes of applying the three-term limit
rule. The Court emphasized that the continuity of Talaga’s
mayorship was disrupted by his defeat during the 1998 elections.
A similar conclusion was reached by the Court in Socrates. preventive suspension cannot be considered as an interruption of
The petitioners in that case assailed the COMELEC Resolution which the continuity of his service. The Court explained why so:
declared Edward Hagedorn qualified to run for mayor in a recall
election. It appeared that Hagedorn had been elected and served as Strict adherence to the intent of the three-
mayor of Puerto Princesa City for three consecutive terms: in 1992- term limit rule demands that preventive suspension
1995, 1995-1998 and 1998-2001. should not be considered an interruption that allows
an elective official’s stay in office beyond three
Obviously aware of the three-term limit principle, Hagedorn terms. A preventive suspension cannot simply
opted not to vie for the same mayoralty position in the 2001 elections, in be a term interruption because the suspended
which Socrates ran and eventually won. However, midway into his term, official continues to stay in office although he is
Socrates faced recall proceedings and in the recall election held, barred from exercising the functions and
Hagedorn run for the former’s unexpired term as mayor. Socrates prerogatives of the office within the suspension
sought Hagedorn’s disqualification under the three-term limit rule. In period. The best indicator of the suspended
upholding Hagedorn’s candidacy to run in the recall election, the Court official’s continuity in office is the absence of a
ruled: permanent replacement and the lack of the
authority to appoint one since no vacancy exists.
x x x After Hagedorn ceased to be mayor
on June 30, 2001, he became a private (5) Election Protest
citizen until the recall election of
September 24, 2002 when he won by With regard to the effects of an election protest vis-à-vis the
3,018 votes over his closest opponent, three-term limit rule, jurisprudence presents a more differing picture.
Socrates. From June 30, 2001 until the The Court’s pronouncements in Lonzanida v. Commission on Elections
recall election on September 24, 2002, (1999), Ong v. Alegre (2006), Rivera III v. Commission on Elections
the mayor of Puerto Princesa was (2007) and Dizon v. Commission on Elections (2009), all protest cases,
Socrates. During the same period, are illuminating.
Hagedorn was simply a private citizen.
This period is clearly an interruption in the In Lonzanida, Romeo Lonzanida was elected and had served
continuity of Hagedorn’s service as as municipal mayor of San Antonio, Zambales in terms 1989-1992,
mayor, not because of his voluntary 1992-1995 and 1995-1998. However, his proclamation relative to the
renunciation, but because of a legal 1995 election was protested and was eventually declared by the RTC
prohibition. and then by COMELEC null and void on the ground of failure of
elections. On February 27, 1998, or about three months before the May
The Court likewise emphasized in Socrates that “an elective 1998 elections, Lonzanida vacated the mayoralty post in light of a
local official cannot seek immediate reelection for a fourth term. The COMELEC order and writ of execution it issued. Lonzanida’s opponent
prohibited election refers to the next regular election for the same office assumed office for the remainder of the term. In the May 1998
following the end of the third consecutive term [and, hence], [a]ny elections, Lonzanida again filed his certificate of candidacy. His
subsequent election, like recall election, is no longer covered x x x.” opponent, Efren Muli, filed a petition for disqualification on the ground
that Lonzanida had already served three consecutive terms in the same
(3) Conversion of a Municipality into a City post. The Court, citing Borja Jr., reiterated the two (2) conditions which
must concur for the three-term limit to apply: “1) that the official
On the other hand, the conversion of a municipality into a concerned has been elected for three consecutive terms in the same
city does not constitute an interruption of the incumbent official’s local government post and 2) that he has fully served three consecutive
continuity of service. terms.”

The Court said so in Latasa v. Commission on Elections In view of Borja, Jr., the Court ruled that the foregoing
(2003). Latasa is cast against the ensuing backdrop: Arsenio A. Latasa requisites were absent in the case of Lonzanida. The Court held that
was elected and served as mayor of the Municipality of Digos, Davao Lonzanida cannot be considered as having been duly elected to the
del Sur for terms 1992-1995, 1995-1998, and 1998-2001. During his post in the May 1995 elections since his assumption of office as mayor
third term, Digos was converted into a component city, with the “cannot be deemed to have been by reason of a valid election but by
corresponding cityhood law providing the holdover of elective officials. reason of a void proclamation.” And as a corollary point, the Court
When Latasa filed his certificate of candidacy as mayor for the 2001 stated that Lonzanida did not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term
elections, the Court declared Latasa as disqualified to run as mayor of having been ordered to vacate his post before the expiration of the
Digos City for violation of the three-term limit rule on the basis of the term, a situation which amounts to an involuntary relinquishment of
following ratiocination: office.

This Court believes that (Latasa) did This Court deviated from the ruling in Lonzanida in Ong v.
involuntarily relinquish his office as municipal mayor Alegre owing to a variance in the factual situations attendant. In that
since the said office has been deemed abolished case, Francis Ong (Ong) was elected and served as mayor of San
due to the conversion. However, the very instant Vicente, Camarines Norte for terms 1995-1998, 1998-2001, and 2001-
he vacated his office as municipal mayor, he 2004. During the 1998 mayoralty elections, or during his supposed
also assumed office as city mayor. Unlike in second term, the COMELEC nullified Ong’s proclamation on the
Lonzanida, where petitioner therein, for even just a postulate that Ong lost during the 1998 elections. However, the
short period of time, stepped down from office, COMELEC’s decision became final and executory on July 4, 2001,
petitioner Latasa never ceased from acting as when Ong had fully served the 1998- 2001 mayoralty term and was in
chief executive of the local government unit. He fact already starting to serve the 2001-2004 term as mayor-elect of the
never ceased from discharging his duties and municipality of San Vicente. In 2004, Ong filed his certificate of
responsibilities as chief executive of Digos. candidacy for the same position as mayor, which his opponent opposed
for violation of the three-term limit rule. Ong invoked the ruling in
(4) Period of Preventive Suspension Lonzanida and argued that he could not be considered as having
served as mayor from 1998-2001 because he was not duly elected to
In 2009, in the case Aldovino Jr., the Court espoused the the post and merely assumed office as a “presumptive winner.”
doctrine that the period during which a local elected official is under Dismissing Ong’s argument, the Court held that his assumption of office
as mayor for the term 1998-2001 constitutes “service for the full term”
and hence, should be counted for purposes of the three term limit rule. Respondent Morales is now serving his fourth term. He has
The Court modified the conditions stated in Lonzanida in the sense that been mayor of Mabalacat continuously without any break since July 1,
Ong’s service was deemed and counted as service for a full term 1995. In just over a month, by June 30, 2007, he will have been mayor
because Ong’s proclamation was voided only after the expiry of the of Mabalacat for twelve (12) continuous years.55 (Emphasis supplied.)
term. The Court noted that the COMELEC decision which declared Ong
as not having won the 1998 elections was “without practical and legal The Court ruled in Rivera that the fact of being belatedly
use and value” promulgated as it was after the contested term has ousted, i.e., after the expiry of the term, cannot constitute an
expired. The Court further reasoned: interruption in Morales’ service of the full term; neither can Morales, as
he argued, be considered merely a “caretaker of the office” or a mere
Petitioner [Francis Ong’s] contention that he was “de facto officer” for purposes of applying the three-term limit rule.
only a presumptive winner in the 1998 mayoralty derby
as his proclamation was under protest did not make him In a related 2009 case of Dizon v. Commission on Elections,
less than a duly elected mayor. His proclamation as the Court would again find the same Mayor Morales as respondent in a
the duly elected mayor in the 1998 mayoralty disqualification proceeding when he ran again as a mayoralty candidate
election coupled by his assumption of office and his during the 2007 elections for a term ending June 30, 2010. Having been
continuous exercise of the functions thereof from unseated from his post by virtue of this Court’s ruling in Rivera, Morales
start to finish of the term, should legally be taken as would argue this time around that the three-term limit rule was no
service for a full term in contemplation of the three- longer applicable as to his 2007 mayoralty bid. This time, the Court
term rule. The absurdity and the deleterious effect of a ruled in his favor, holding that for purposes of the 2007 elections, the
contrary view is not hard to discern. Such contrary view three-term limit rule was no longer a disqualifying factor as against
would mean that Alegre would – under the three-term Morales. The Court
rule - be considered as having served a term by virtue of
a veritably meaningless electoral protest ruling, when wrote:
another actually served such term pursuant to a
proclamation made in due course after an election. Our ruling in the Rivera case served as Morales’
involuntary severance from office with respect to the 2004-2007
The Court did not apply the ruling in Lonzanida and ruled that term. Involuntary severance from office for any length of time short of
the case of Ong was different, to wit: the full term provided by law amounts to an interruption of continuity of
service. Our decision in the Rivera case was promulgated on 9 May
The difference between the case at bench and 2007 and was effective immediately. The next day, Morales notified the
Lonzanida is at once apparent. For one, in Lonzanida, vice mayor’s office of our decision. The vice mayor assumed the office
the result of the mayoralty election was declared a nullity of the mayor from 17 May 2007 up to 30 June 2007. The assumption
for the stated reason of "failure of election", and, as a by the vice mayor of the office of the mayor, no matter how short it
consequence thereof, the proclamation of Lonzanida as may seem to Dizon, interrupted Morales’ continuity of service.
mayor-elect was nullified, followed by an order for him to Thus, Morales did not hold office for the full term of 1 July 2004 to 30
vacate the office of mayor. For another, Lonzanida did
not fully serve the 1995-1998 mayoral term, there being To summarize, hereunder are the prevailing
an involuntary severance from office as a result of legal jurisprudence on issues affecting consecutiveness of
processes. In fine, there was an effective interruption of terms and/or involuntary interruption, viz:
the continuity of service.
1. When a permanent vacancy occurs in an elective
Ong’s slight departure from Lonzanida would later find position and the official merely assumed the
reinforcement in the consolidated cases of Rivera III v. Commission on position pursuant to the rules on succession under
Elections53 and Dee v. Morales. Therein, Morales was elected mayor the LGC, then his service for the unexpired portion
of Mabalacat, Pampanga for the following consecutive terms: 1995- of the term of the replaced official cannot be treated
1998, 1998-2001 and 2001-2004. In relation to the 2004 elections, as one full term as contemplated under the subject
Morales again ran as mayor of the same town, emerged as garnering constitutional and statutory provision that service
the majority votes and was proclaimed elective mayor for term cannot be counted in the application of any term
commencing July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2007. A petition for quo warranto limit (Borja, Jr.). If the official runs again for the
was later filed against Morales predicated on the ground that he is same position he held prior to his assumption of the
ineligible to run for a “fourth” term, having served as mayor for three higher office, then his succession to said position is
consecutive terms. In his answer, Morales averred that his supposed by operation of law and is considered an involuntary
1998- 2001 term cannot be considered against him, for, although he severance or interruption (Montebon).
was proclaimed by the Mabalacat board of canvassers as elected
mayor vis-à-vis the 1998 elections and discharged the duties of mayor 2. An elective official, who has served for three
until June 30, 2001, his proclamation was later nullified by the RTC of consecutive terms and who did not seek the
Angeles City and his closest rival, Anthony Dee, proclaimed the duly elective position for what could be his fourth term,
elected mayor. Pursuing his point, Morales parlayed the idea that he but later won in a recall election, had an interruption
only served as a mere caretaker. in the continuity of the official’s service. For, he had
become in the interim, i.e., from the end of the 3rd
The Court found Morales’ posture untenable and held that the term up to the recall election, a private citizen
case of Morales presents a factual milieu similar with Ong, not with (Adormeo and Socrates).
Lonzanida. For nease of reference, the proclamation of Francis Ong, in
Ong, was nullified, but after he, like Morales, had served the three-year 3. The abolition of an elective local office due to the
term from the start to the end of the term. Hence, the Court concluded conversion of a municipality to a city does not, by
that Morales exceeded the three-term limit rule, to wit: Here, itself, work to interrupt the incumbent official’s
respondent Morales was elected for the term July 1, 1998 to June 30, continuity of service (Latasa).
2001. He assumed the position. He served as mayor until June 30,
2001. He was mayor for the entire period notwithstanding the 4. Preventive suspension is not a term-interrupting
Decision of the RTC in the electoral protest case filed by petitioner event as the elective officer’s continued stay and
Dee ousting him (respondent) as mayor. To reiterate, as held in Ong entitlement to the office remain unaffected during
v. Alegre, such circumstance does not constitute an interruption in the period of suspension, although he is barred
serving the full term.
from exercising the functions of his office during this imposition of a preventive suspension being the very lis mota in the
period (Aldovino, Jr.). Aldovino, Jr. case. But just the same, We find that Abundo’s case
presents a different factual backdrop.
5. When a candidate is proclaimed as winner for an
elective position and assumes office, his term is Unlike in the abovementioned election protest cases wherein the
interrupted when he loses in an election protest and individuals subject of disqualification were candidates who lost in the
is ousted from office, thus disenabling him from election protest and each declared loser during the elections, Abundo
serving what would otherwise be the unexpired was the winner during the election protest and was declared the
portion of his term of office had the protest been rightful holder of the mayoralty post. Unlike Mayor Lonzanida and
dismissed (Lonzanida and Dizon). The break or Mayor Morales, who were both unseated toward the end of their
interruption need not be for a full term of three respective terms, Abundo was the protestant who ousted his
years or for the major part of the 3-year term; an opponent and had assumed the remainder of the term.
interruption for any length of time, provided the
cause is involuntary, is sufficient to break the Notwithstanding, We still find this Court’s pronouncements in
continuity of service (Socrates, citing Lonzanida). the past as instructive, and consider several doctrines established from
the 1998 case of Borja, Jr. up to the most recent case of Aldovino Jr. in
6. When an official is defeated in an election protest 2009, as potent aids in arriving at this Court’s conclusion. The intention
and said decision becomes final after said official behind the three-term limit rule was not only to abrogate the
had served the full term for said office, then his loss “monopolization of political power” and prevent elected officials from
in the election contest does not constitute an breeding “proprietary interest in their position”60 but also to “enhance
interruption since he has managed to serve the the people’s freedom of choice.” In the words of Justice Vicente V.
term from start to finish. His full service, despite the Mendoza, “while people should be protected from the evils that a
defeat, should be counted in the application of term monopoly of power may bring about, care should be taken that their
limits because the nullification of his proclamation freedom of choice is not unduly curtailed.”
came after the expiration of the term (Ong and
Rivera). In the present case, the Court finds Abundo’s case
meritorious and declares that the two-year period during which his
opponent, Torres, was serving as mayor should be considered as
Abundo argues that the RTC and the COMELEC erred in an interruption, which effectively removed Abundo’s case from the
uniformly ruling that he had already served three consecutive terms and ambit of the three-term limit rule.
is, thus, barred by the constitutional three-term limit rule to run for the
current 2010-2013 term. In gist, Abundo arguments run thusly: It bears to stress at this juncture that Abundo, for the 2004
election for the term starting July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2007, was the
1. Aldovino, Jr. is not on all fours with the present duly elected mayor. Otherwise how explain his victory in his election
case as the former dealt with preventive suspension protest against Torres and his consequent proclamation as duly elected
which does not interrupt the continuity of service of mayor. Accordingly, the first requisite for the application of the
a term; disqualification rule based on the three-term limit that the official has
been elected is satisfied.
2. Aldovino, Jr. recognizes that the term of an
elected official can be interrupted so as to remove This thus brings us to the second requisite of whether or not
him from the reach of the constitutional three-term Abundo had served for “three consecutive terms,” as the phrase is
limitation; juridically understood, as mayor of Viga, Catanduanes immediately
before the 2010 national and local elections. Subsumed to this issue is
3. The COMELEC misinterpreted the meaning of of course the question of whether or not there was an effective
“term” in Aldovino, Jr. by its reliance on a mere involuntary interruption during the three three-year periods, resulting in
portion of the Decision and not on the unified logic the disruption of the continuity of Abundo’s mayoralty.
in the disquisition;
The facts of the case clearly point to an involuntary
4. Of appropriate governance in this case is the interruption during the July 2004-June 2007 term. There can be no
holding in Lonzanida and Rivera III v. quibbling that, during the term 2004-2007, and with the enforcement of
Commission on Elections the decision of the election protest in his favor, Abundo assumed the
mayoralty post only on May 9, 2006 and served the term until June 30,
5. The COMELEC missed the point when it ruled 2007 or for a period of a little over one year and one month.
that there was no interruption in the service of Consequently, unlike Mayor Ong in Ong and Mayor Morales in Rivera,
Abundo since what he considered as an it cannot be said that Mayor Abundo was able to serve fully the entire
“interruption” of his 2004-2007 term occurred before 2004- 2007 term to which he was otherwise entitled. A “term,” as
his term started; and defined in Appari v. Court of Appeals, means, in a legal sense, “a fixed
and definite period of time which the law describes that an officer may
6. To rule that the term of the protestee (Torres) hold an office.” It also means the “time during which the officer may
whose proclamation was adjudged invalid was claim to hold office as a matter of right, and fixes the interval after which
interrupted while that of the protestant (Abundo) the several incumbents shall succeed one another.” It is the period of
who was eventually proclaimed winner was not so time during which a duly elected official has title to and can serve the
interrupted is at once absurd as it is illogical. functions of an elective office. From paragraph (a) of Sec. 43, RA
7160,66 the term for local elected officials is three (3) years starting
Both respondents Vega and the COMELEC counter that the from noon of June 30 of the first year of said term.
ratio decidendi of Aldovino, Jr. finds application in the instant case. The
COMELEC ruled that Abundo did not lose title to the office as his In the present case, during the period of one year and ten
victory in the protest case confirmed his entitlement to said office and months, or from June 30, 2004 until May 8, 2006, Abundo cannot
he was only unable to temporarily discharge the functions of the office plausibly claim, even if he wanted to, that he could hold office of
during the pendency of the election protest. We note that this present the mayor as a matter of right. Neither can he assert title to the
case of Abundo deals with the effects of an election protest, for which same nor serve the functions of the said elective office. The reason
the rulings in Lonzanida, Ong, Rivera and Dizon appear to be more is simple: during that period, title to hold such office and the
attuned than the case of Aldovino Jr., the interrupting neffects of the corresponding right to assume the functions thereof still belonged to his
opponent, as proclaimed election winner. Accordingly, Abundo actually simply find its way clear to understand the poll body’s determination
held the office and exercised the functions as mayor only upon his that Abundo was only temporarily unable to discharge his functions as
declaration, following the resolution of the protest, as duly elected mayor during the pendency of the election protest.
candidate in the May 2004 elections or for only a little over one year
and one month. Consequently, since the legally contemplated full term As previously stated, the declaration of being the winner in an
for local elected officials is three (3) years, it cannot be said that election protest grants the local elected official the right to serve the
Abundo fully served the term 2004-2007. The reality on the ground is unexpired portion of the term. Verily, while he was declared winner in
that Abundo actually served less. the protest for the mayoralty seat for the 2004-2007 term, Abundo’s full
term has been substantially reduced by the actual service rendered by
Needless to stress, the almost two-year period during which his opponent (Torres). Hence, there was actual involuntary interruption
Abundo’s opponent actually served as Mayor is and ought to be in the term of Abundo and he cannot be considered to have served the
considered an involuntary interruption of Abundo’s continuity of service. full 2004-2007 term. This is what happened in the instant case. It
An involuntary interrupted term, cannot, in the context of the cannot be overemphasized that pending the favorable resolution of his
disqualification rule, be considered as one term for purposes of election protest, Abundo was relegated to being an ordinary
counting the three-term threshold. The notion of full service of three constituent since his opponent, as presumptive victor in the 2004
consecutive terms is related to the concepts of interruption of elections, was occupying the mayoralty seat. In other words, for almost
service and voluntary renunciation of service. The word two years or from July 1, 2004— the start of the term—until May 9,
interruption means temporary cessation, intermission or suspension. 2006 or during which his opponent actually assumed the mayoralty
To interrupt is to obstruct, thwart or prevent. When the Constitution and office, Abundo was a private citizen warming his heels while
the LGC of 1991 speak of interruption, the reference is to the awaiting the outcome of his protest. Hence, even if declared later as
obstruction to the continuance of the service by the concerned elected having the right to serve the elective position from July 1, 2004, such
official by effectively cutting short the service of a term or giving a hiatus declaration would not erase the fact that prior to the finality of the
in the occupation of the elective office. On the other hand, the word election protest, Abundo did not serve in the mayor’s office and, in fact,
“renunciation” connotes the idea of waiver or abandonment of a known had no legal right to said position. Aldovino Jr. cannot possibly lend
right. To renounce is to give up, abandon, decline or resign. Voluntary support to respondent’s cause of action, or to COMELEC’s resolution
renunciation of the office by an elective local official would thus mean to against Abundo. In Aldovino Jr., the Court succinctly defines what
give up or abandon the title to the office and to cut short the service of temporary inability or disqualification to exercise the functions of an
the term the concerned elected official is entitled to. elective office means, thus: On the other hand, temporary inability or
disqualification to exercise the functions of an elective post, even if
It must be stressed that involuntary interruption of service involuntary, should not be considered an effective interruption of a term
which jurisprudence deems an exception to the three-term limit rule, because it does not involve the loss of title to office or at least an
implies that the service of the term has begun before it was effective break from holding office; the office holder, while retaining
interrupted. Here, the respondent did not lose title to the office. As the title, is simply barred from exercising the functions of his office for a
assailed Resolution reason provided by law. We rule that the above pronouncement on
preventive suspension does not apply to the instant case. Verily, it
states: is erroneous to say that Abundo merely was temporarily unable or
disqualified to exercise the functions of an elective post. For one, during
In the case at bar, respondent the intervening period of almost two years, reckoned from the start of
cannot be said to have lost his title to the the 2004-2007 term, Abundo cannot be said to have retained title to
office. On the contrary, he actively sought the mayoralty office as he was at that time not the duly proclaimed
entitlement to the office when he lodged winner who would have the legal right to assume and serve such
the election protest case. And elective office. For another, not having been declared winner yet,
respondent-appellant’s victory in the said Abundo cannot be said to have lost title to the office since one
case is a final confirmation that he was cannot plausibly lose a title which, in the first place, he did not
validly elected for the mayoralty post of have. Thus, for all intents and purposes, even if the belated declaration
Viga, Catanduanes in 2004- 2007. At in the election protest accords him title to the elective office from the
most, respondent-appellant was only start of the term, Abundo was not entitled to the elective office until the
unable to temporarily discharge the election protest was finally resolved in his favor.
functions of the office to which he was
validly elected during the pendency of Consequently, there was a hiatus of almost two years,
the election protest, but he never lost title consisting of a break and effective interruption of his service, until he
to the said office. assumed the office and served barely over a year of the remaining
term. At this juncture, We observe the apparent similarities of Mayor
The COMELEC’s Second Division, on the other hand, Abundo’s case with the cases of Mayor Talaga in Adormeo and Mayor
pronounced that the actual length of service by the public official in a Hagedorn in Socrates as Mayors Talaga and Hagedorn were not
given term is immaterial by reckoning said service for the term in the proclaimed winners since they were noncandidates in the regular
application of the three-term limit rule, thus: As emphasized in the case elections. They were proclaimed winners during the recall elections and
of Aldovino, “this formulation—no more than three consecutive terms— clearly were not able to fully serve the terms of the deposed incumbent
is a clear command suggesting the existence of an inflexible rule.” officials. Similar to their cases where the Court deemed their terms as
Therefore we cannot subscribe to the argument that since respondent involuntarily interrupted, Abundo also became or was a private citizen
Abundo served only a portion of the term, his 2004-2007 “term” should during the period over which his opponent was serving as mayor. If in
not be considered for purposes of the application of the three term limit Lonzanida, the Court ruled that there was interruption in Lonzanida’s
rule. When the framers of the Constitution drafted and incorporated the service because of his subsequent defeat in the election protest, then
three term limit rule, it is clear that reference is to the term, not the with more reason, Abundo’s term for 2004-2007 should be declared
actual length of the service the public official may render. Therefore, interrupted since he was not proclaimed winner after the 2004 elections
one’s actual service of term no matter how long or how short is and was able to assume the office and serve only for a little more than
immaterial. a year after winning the protest.
In fine, the COMELEC ruled against Abundo on the theory As aptly stated in Latasa, to be considered as interruption of
that the length of the actual service of the term is immaterial in his case service, the “law contemplates a rest period during which the local
as he was only temporarily unable to discharge his functions as mayor. elective official steps down from office and ceases to exercise power or
The COMELEC’s case disposition and its heavy reliance on Aldovino, authority over the inhabitants of the territorial jurisdiction of a particular
Jr. do not commend themselves for concurrence. The Court cannot local government unit.” Applying the said principle in the present case,
there is no question that during the pendency of the election protest,
Abundo ceased from exercising power or authority over the good vs.
people of Viga, Catanduanes. Consequently, the period during which
Abundo was not serving as mayor should be considered as a rest THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
period or break in his service because, as earlier stated, prior to the PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL (GRP), as represented by RODOLFO
judgment in the election protest, it was Abundo’s opponent, Torres, who C. GARCIA, LEAH ARMAMENTO, SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK
was exercising such powers by virtue of the still then valid RYAN SULLIVAN and HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his capacity as
proclamation. the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, respondents.

As a final note, We reiterate that Abundo’s case differs from x--------------------------------------------x


other cases involving the effects of an election protest because while
Abundo was, in the final reckoning, the winning candidate, he was the G.R. No. 183893 October 14, 2008
one deprived of his right and opportunity to serve his
constituents. To a certain extent, Abundo was a victim of an imperfect THE CITY OF ILIGAN, duly represented by CITY MAYOR LAWRENCE
election system. While admittedly the Court does not possess the LLUCH CRUZ, petitioner,
mandate to remedy such imperfections, the Constitution has clothed it
with enough authority to establish a fortress against the injustices it may vs.
bring.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
In this regard, We find that a contrary ruling would work PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by
damage and cause grave injustice to Abundo––an elected official SEC. RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY.
who was belatedly declared as the winner and assumed office for only SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN; GEN.
a short period of the term. If in the cases of Lonzanida and Dizon, this HERMOGENES ESPERON, JR., in his capacity as the present and
Court ruled in favor of a losing candidate––or the person who was duly appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; and/or SEC.
adjudged not legally entitled to hold the contested public office but held EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as Executive Secretary.
it anyway––We find more reason to rule in favor of a winning candidate- respondents.
protestant who, by popular vote, deserves title to the public office but
whose opportunity to hold the same was halted by an invalid x--------------------------------------------x
proclamation.
G.R. No. 183951 October 14, 2008
Also, more than the injustice that may be committed against
Abundo is the injustice that may likewise be committed against the THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, as
people of Viga, Catanduanes by depriving them of their right to choose represented by HON. ROLANDO E. YEBES, in his capacity as
their leaders. Like the framers of the Constitution, We bear in mind that Provincial Governor, HON. FRANCIS H. OLVIS, in his capacity as Vice-
We “cannot arrogate unto ourselves the right to decide what the people Governor and Presiding Officer of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,
want” and hence, should, as much as possible, “allow the people to HON. CECILIA JALOSJOS CARREON, Congresswoman, 1st
exercise their own sense of proportion and rely on their own strength to Congressional District, HON. CESAR G. JALOSJOS, Congressman,
curtail the power when it overreaches itself.” For democracy draws 3rd Congressional District, and Members of the Sangguniang
strength from the choice the people make which is the same choice We Panlalawigan of the Province of Zamboanga del Norte, namely, HON.
are likewise bound to protect. SETH FREDERICK P. JALOSJOS, HON. FERNANDO R. CABIGON,
JR., HON. ULDARICO M. MEJORADA II, HON. EDIONAR M.
Petitioner Abelardo Abundo, Sr. is DECLARED ELIGIBLE for
ZAMORAS, HON. EDGAR J. BAGUIO, HON. CEDRIC L. ADRIATICO,
the position of Mayor of Viga, Catanduanes to which he was duly
HON. FELIXBERTO C. BOLANDO, HON. JOSEPH BRENDO C.
elected in the May 2010 elections and is accordingly ordered
AJERO, HON. NORBIDEIRI B. EDDING, HON. ANECITO S.
IMMEDIATELY REINSTATED to said position.
DARUNDAY, HON. ANGELICA J. CARREON and HON. LUZVIMINDA
CASE 4 E. TORRINO, petitioners,
EN BANC
vs.
G.R. No. 183591 October 14, 2008
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
THE PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO, duly represented by PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL [GRP], as represented by HON.
GOVERNOR JESUS SACDALAN and/or VICE-GOVERNOR RODOLFO C. GARCIA and HON. HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his
EMMANUEL PIÑOL, for and in his own behalf, petitioners, capacity as the Presidential Adviser of Peace Process, respondents.
vs.
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES x--------------------------------------------x
PEACE PANEL ON ANCESTRAL DOMAIN (GRP), represented by
SEC. RODOLFO GARCIA, ATTY. LEAH ARMAMENTO, ATTY. G.R. No. 183962 October 14, 2008
SEDFREY CANDELARIA, MARK RYAN SULLIVAN and/or GEN.
HERMOGENES ESPERON, JR., the latter in his capacity as the ERNESTO M. MACEDA, JEJOMAR C. BINAY, and AQUILINO L.
present and duly-appointed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process PIMENTEL III, petitioners,
(OPAPP) or the so-called Office of the Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process, respondents. vs.

x--------------------------------------------x THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL, represented by its Chairman
G.R. No. 183752 October 14, 2008 RODOLFO C. GARCIA, and the MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION
FRONT PEACE NEGOTIATING PANEL, represented by its Chairman
CITY GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBOANGA, as represented by HON. MOHAGHER IQBAL, respondents.
CELSO L. LOBREGAT, City Mayor of Zamboanga, and in his personal
capacity as resident of the City of Zamboanga, Rep. MA. ISABELLE G. x--------------------------------------------x
CLIMACO, District 1, and Rep. ERICO BASILIO A. FABIAN, District 2,
City of Zamboanga, petitioners,
FRANKLIN M. DRILON and ADEL ABBAS TAMANO, petitioners-in- · G.R. 183591 – (23 July 2008) the Province of North Cotabato
intervention. and Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol (Mandamus and Prohibition
with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and
x--------------------------------------------x TRO) sought to compel respondents to disclose the MOA-AD and
attachments, prohibit the signing, hold a public consultation and
SEN. MANUEL A. ROXAS, petitioners-in-intervention. declare the MOA-AD UNCONSTITUTIONAL

x--------------------------------------------x · G.R. 183752 – the City of Zamboanga (Mandamus and


Prohibition and similar injunctive reliefs) prayed that Zamboanga
MUNICIPALITY OF LINAMON duly represented by its Municipal Mayor City be excluded from the Bangsamoro Homeland and/or
NOEL N. DEANO, petitioners-in-intervention, Bangasmoro Judicial Entity (BJE) and that the MOA-AD be
declared null and void
x--------------------------------------------x
· G.R. 183893 – City of Iligan (Injunction and Declaratory
THE CITY OF ISABELA, BASILAN PROVINCE, represented by Relief) sought to enjoin respondents from signing the MOA-AD and
MAYOR CHERRYLYN P. SANTOS-AKBAR, petitioners-in-intervention. if it has been signed, from implementing it. Additionally impleaded
ES Eduardo Ermita as respondent.
x--------------------------------------------x
· G.R. 183951 - the Province of Zamboanga del Norte et al
THE PROVINCE OF SULTAN KUDARAT, rep. by HON. SUHARTO T. (petition for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition), prayed to
MANGUDADATU, in his capacity as Provincial Governor and a resident declare null and void the MOA-AD and without operative effect and
of the Province of Sultan Kudarat, petitioner-in-intervention. those respondents enjoined from executing the MOA-AD

· G.R. 183962 – Maceda, Binay, Pimentel III filed a petition for


x-------------------------------------------x
Prohibition, praying for a judgment prohibiting and permanently
enjoining respondents from formally signing and executing the
RUY ELIAS LOPEZ, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of
MOA-AD as well as to nullify the MOA-AD for being
Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao Not Belonging to the MILF, petitioner-
unconstitutional and illegal. Additionally impleaded as responded
in-intervention.
the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel (represented by Chairman
Iqbal.
x--------------------------------------------x
· Various parties moved to intervene and were granted to file
CARLO B. GOMEZ, GERARDO S. DILIG, NESARIO G. AWAT, their petitions/comments in-intervention.
JOSELITO C. ALISUAG and RICHALEX G. JAGMIS, as citizens and
residents of Palawan, petitioners-in-intervention. Important People:

x--------------------------------------------x · Aforementioned petitioners and respondents

MARINO RIDAO and KISIN BUXANI, petitioners-in-intervention. · Hermogenes Esperon Presidential Adviser on the Peace
Process (PAPP)
x--------------------------------------------x
· GRP Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain
MUSLIM LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION, INC (MUSLAF),
respondent-in-intervention. FACTS (In order of chronological events) AND AN OVERVIEW OF
THE MOA-AD
x--------------------------------------------x

MUSLIM MULTI-SECTORAL MOVEMENT FOR PEACE &


1. 1996 – the beginning of the long process of GRP-MILF peace
DEVELOPMENT (MMMPD), respondent-in-intervention.
negotiations
x--------------------------------------------x 2. 18 July 1997 – the GRP and the peace panel signed the
Agreement on the General Cessation of Hostilities
DECISION
3. 27 August 1998 – signed the General Framework of
CARPIO MORALES, J.: Agreement of Intent
CASE 17
4. 1999 to early 2000 – numerous municipalities in Central
G.R. No. 183591 PROVINCE OF NORTH COTABATO v. Mindanao were attacked by the MILF which affected the
peace negotiations; MILF took control of the town hall in
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte in March 2000 and in response,
then President Estrada declared an “all-out-war” against the
Summarized by Manu and Kim
MILF
This is a consolidation of a number of cases regarding the issues,
5. 2001 – President GMA assumed office and suspended the
mostly in relation to its constitutionality, surrounding the Memorandum
military offense against the MILF and sought a resumption of
of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the
the peace negotiations; MILF was first apprehensive but were
Government of the Philippines (GPR) and the Moro Islamic Liberation
convinced when GMA asked the Government of Malaysia
Front (MILF)[1] and the issue regarding the extent of the powers of the
through Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to help convince
President in pursuing the peace process. The following are the cases
them, the MILF convened its Central Committee seriously to
that have been consolidated:
discuss the matter and eventually met with the GRP

6. 28 February 2001 – GRP Negotiating Panel was established


through Executive Order No. 3 s. 2001
7. 24 March 2001 – parties met in Kuala Lumpur with talks ii. Revise or amend the constitution and existing
facilitated by the Malaysian Government; parties signed the laws to conform to the MOA-AD
Agreement on the General Framework and the Resumption of
Peace Talks. The MILF thereafter suspended all its military iii. Concede/ recognize claim of MILF for
actions. ancestral domain in violation of IPRA

8. 20-22 June 2001 – formal peace talks held in Tripoli, Libya If yes, whether the Executive Branch has the
the outcome of which was the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement authority to bind the GRP
on Peace Process which contained the following basic
principles and agenda on the negotiations: security aspect, f. Whether the inclusion of North Cotabato, Zamboanga
rehabilitation aspect, and ancestral domain aspect (this City, Iligan and Isabela and Linamon, Lanao del Norte in the
aspect had a colatilla saying that it “shall be discussed further Bangsamoro Homeland is a justiciable question
by the Parties in their next meeting”)
g. Whether not signing the MOA derogates any valid prior
9. 5-7 August 2001 – second round of peace talks in Cyberjaya, commitment of the GRP
Malaysia which ended in the signing of the Implementing
Guidelines on the Security Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement
2001 which led to a ceasefire between parties
17. 19 August 2008 - Maceda, Binay, Pimentel III filed with the
10. 7 May 2002 – signed the Implementing Guidelines on the SC
Humanitarian Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the
18. 19 August 2008 – Respondents (through Manifestation by
Tripoli Agreement 2001
Motion) stated that the Executive Department shall thoroughly
11. 13 July 2003 – Chairman Salamat Hashim of the MILF review the MOA-AD and pursue further negotiations to
passed away and subsequently replaced by Al Haj Murad address the issues raised and thus moved to dismiss the
(previously chair peace negotiator). His position was taken cases
over by Mohagher Iqbal.

12. 2005 – exploratory talks between parties in Malaysia, to draft


OVERVIEW OF THE MOA-AD
the MOA-AD

13. 23 July 2008 – the Province of North Cotabato file with the
Supreme Court and was docketed as G.R. 183591 · Parties: GRP (used interchangeably with CENTRAL
GOVERNMENT) and the MILF
14. 04 August 2008 – the Court issued a Temporary Restraining
Order (TRO) commanding and directing respondents and · Main body is divided into four (4) strands: CONCEPTS AND
agents to cease and desist from formally signing the MOA- PRINCIPLES, TERRITORY, RESOURCES, AND GOVERNANCE
AD. Court also required SolGen to submit to the court and
petitioners the official copy of the MOA-AD

15. 05 August 2008 – scheduled signing date for the final form of · CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES
Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain Aspect
of the Tripoli Agreement on Peace (MOA-AD) o Defines Bangsamoro People as natives or original inhabitants
of Mindanao and adjacent islands (including Palawan and
16. 15, 22, 29 August 2008 – cases were heard on oral Sulu archipelago) at the time of conquest/ colonization and
argument with the following issues discussed: their descendants and spouses
a. Whether the petitions have become moot and academic o Not only Moros but included indigenous peoples of Mindanao
and adjacent islands (adds that the freedom of choice of the
i. Insofar as mandamus is concerned in IPs shall be respected)
view of the disclosure of the official copies of the MOA-AD
o MOA-AD proceeds to refer to the “Bangsamoro Homeland” –
ii. Insofar as prohibition aspect is concerned the ownership of which is vested exclusively in the
if consultation has become fait accompli with the finalization Bangsamoro people by virtue of their prior rights of
of the draft occupation; both parties acknowledge that ancestral domain
does not form part of the public domain.
b. Whether the constitutionality and legality of the MOA is
ripe for adjudication; o Bangsamoro people have a right to self-governance
c. Whether respondent committed grave abuse of o Describes Bangsamoro as the “First Nation” – suggests
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction when it exclusive entitlement to that designation (departs from
negotiated and initiated the MOA vis-à-vis ISSUES (d) and (e) Canadian usage – used to refer to their indigenous
collectively as First Nations – plural)
d. Whether there is a violation of the people’s right to
information. If yes, whether prohibition is an appropriate
remedy
· TERRITORY
e. Whether by signing the MOA the GRP would be binding
itself to o Land mass, maritime, terrestrial, fluvial, alluvial including aerial
domain and atmospheric space embracing Mindanao- Sulu-
i. Create and recognize the BJE as a separate Palawan geographic region
state/ juridical, territorial, political subdivision
not recognized by law
o Present geographic area of ARMM including certain o BJE can build, develop, maintain own institutions (banking,
Municipalities in Lanao del Norte voted for in the 2001 education, legislation, judiciary etc.) details will be discussed
plebiscite in the negotiation of the comprehensive compact

o Outside this, the BJE is to cover other provinces and


municipalities grouped into Category A (to be subjected to
plebiscite not later than 12 months after MOA-AD signing) · Annexed to the MOA-AD are documents containing the lists
and B [subjected to a plebiscite twenty-five (25) years from and maps of the places included under Categories A and B
the signing of a separate agreement – the Comprehensive mentioned under TERRITORY
Compact]

o BJE shall have jurisdiction (did not say joint with GRP) over all
natural resources within its internal waters (15km from ISSUES AND HOLDING:
coastline) and territorial waters from beyond this up to
baselines of RP – South East and South West of mainland
Mindanao; within territorial waters, there is joint jurisdiction
I. WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONS HAVE COMPLIED
with GRP
WITH THE PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
o Indicates sharing of minerals on the territorial waters in favor EXERCISE OF JUDICIAL REVIEW
of BJE. Nothing said about sharing the minerals in the internal
waters
a. RIPENESS – COURT RULES THAT IT IS RIPE.[2]

· Petitions allege acts or omissions by respondents exceed their


· RESOURCES
authority by violating their duty under EO No. 3, the
o BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation/ trade Constitution and statutes. There is a prima facie case for
relations with foreign countries and can establish foreign Certiorari, Prohibition, and Mandamus and thus an actual
trade missions to other countries case for controversy ripe for adjudication exists. When an act
of a branch of government is seriously alleged to have
o External defense remain the duty and obligation of GRP infringed the Constitution, it becomes not only the right
but duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute.
o GRP should take steps to include BJE in international meetings
and events such as but not limited to ASEAN events · Concrete acts not necessary; cites Pimentel, Jr. v. Aguirre:
“…mere enactment of the questioned law/ approval of the
o Exploring, producing, obtaining potential sources of energy challenged action the dispute is said to have ripened into
jurisdiction and control is under the BJE but in times of judicial controversy even without any overt act. Indeed even a
national emergency, when public interest requires, the GRP singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough
may, for a fixed period and reasonable terms agreed by both to awaken judicial duty.” Also cites Santa Fe Independent
parties, assume or direct the operation of such resources School District v. Doe: US SC held that challenge for the
constitutionality of the school’s policy on student-led prayers/
o The sharing between the GRP and the BJE of total production speeches before games was ripe even without it happening
pertaining to natural resources is 75:25 in favor of BJE. because it is the policy being challenged, not the concrete
acts per se
o BJE may modify or cancel forest concessions, timber licenses,
mining concessions, Mineral Production and Sharing · When law or act in question is not yet effective does not negate
Agreements (MPSA) Industrial Forest Management ripeness; cites New York v. United States: action of New
Agreements (IFMA) and the like, granted by the GRP, York challenging a radioactive waste policy was ripe in order
including those issued by the present ARMM. to avoid the provision’s consequences

· GOVERNANCE b. LOCUS STANDI

o Binds parties to invite a multinational third-party to observe and · Province of North Cotabato, Province of Zamboanga del Norte,
monitor implementation of COMPREHENSIVE COMPACT – City of Iligan, City of Zamboanga and petitioners-in-
a compact to embody the “details for effective enforcement” intervention Province of Sultan Kudarat, City of Isabela and
and “mechanisms and modalities of actual implementation” of Municipality of Linamon have locus standi in view of the
the MOA-AD but explicitly says that the participation of the direct and substantial injury that they as LGUs would
third party shall not in any way affect the relationship of the suffer as their territories are to be included in the
GRP and BJE intended domain of the BJE

o Defines relationship of Central Government and BJE as · Petitioners allege that they did not vote for their inclusion
“associative” [take note of this as this will be an issue tackled
later on] characterized by shared authority and responsibility · Maceda, Binay, Pimentel III would have no standing for their failure
to specify that they would have rights that will be denied or
o Provides that provisions requiring “amendments to the existing that there is a wastage of public funds BUT court grants them
legal framework” shall take effect upon signing of the standing due to their invocation of the transcendental
comprehensive compact and upon effecting the aforesaid importance of the issue
amendments with due regard to the non-derogation of prior
agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be · Intervenors Drilon and Tamayo can be given standing in their claim
indicated in the comprehensive compact [take note as the as tax payers and that government funds will be used to
legality of this provision is one of the main points of the conduct an illegal and unconstitutional plebiscite;
controversy – violates Constitution]
transcendental importance argument also gives them safeguards” in the implementation but not a necessity for the
standing policy to be in effect)

· Intervenor Mar Roxas has standing as his premise is that he is a


member of the Senate and a citizen (public’s right to be
informed on the MOA-AD) and has genuine legal interest in b. Three pertinent laws [EO No. 3, Republic Act No. 7160
the matter in litigation (personally, we no idea why the last (Local Government Code), and Republic Act No. 8371
one gives him standing) (IPRA)] animate petitioner’s right to be consulted on the
peace agenda corollary to the constitutional right to
· Intervenors Lopez, Ridao, Gomez, and Buxani failed to allege any information and disclosure.
proper legal interest in the present petitions
· E.O. No. 3
· Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and Development and
Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation may be prejudiced and 1. In the perambulatory clauses (the first WHEREAS clauses in the
therefore they have standing EO) it is stated that there is a need to enhance contribution of
CSOs by institutionalizing people’s participation

2. Enumerates responsibilities of the PAPP such as conducting


c. MOOTNESS regular dialogues with the National Peace Forum and other
peace partners
· COURT RULES THAT PETITIONS ARE NOT MOOTED[3]
· Local Government Code
1. Non-signing and eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel
did not moot the petitions. It bears emphasis that the signing 1. Requires all national offices to conduct consultations before any
did not push through due to the TRO issued by this Court project or program critical to environment and human ecology
which the MOA-AD falls under as it vests ownership of a vast
2. Cannot be mere consensus points given the nomenclature and territory to the Bangsamoro people which could result to the
need to have it initialed by involved parties + far reaching diaspora of a great number of inhabitants from the said
constitutional implications environment

3. As discussed, there is a commitment to change statutes and · IPRA


possibly amend the constitution in order to conform to the
MOA-AD; consequently, present petitions are not confined to 1. Entails the observance of prior informed consent of the
the terms and provisions of the MOA-AD but to other on- indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) and indigenous
going and future negotiations and agreements necessary for peoples (IPs) (under IPRA)
its realization

4. It is of paramount public interest.


· PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion

1. No consultation/ lack of information – cannot invoke “executive


II. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENTS HAVE VIOLATED privilege” doctrine[5] since copies of the MOA-AD were given
CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY PROVISIONS ON upon request of the Court anyway
PUBLIC CONSULTATION AND THE RIGHT TO
INFORMATION WHEN THEY NEGOTIATED THE MOA-AD 2. Lacked prior consent/ informing of ICCs and indigenous peoples
IPs (under IPRA)

3. MOA AD recognition of ancestral domains seems to delineate


a. Constitutional right to information on matters of public ancestral domains which IPRA does not grant the Executive
concern as provided in Section 7, Article III Bill of Rights Department thus respondents clearly transcended the
as is complimented by Section 28[4], Article II, boundaries of their authority
Declaration of Principles and State Policies (“splendid
symmetry” in the words of Commissioner Blas Ople) III. WHETHER OR NOT THE CONTENTS OF THE MOA-AD
ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND
STATUTES

· It is a self-executory constitutional right (Legazpi v. Civil


Service Commission)
a. MOA-AD is inconsistent with the Constitution and Laws as
· There can be no realistic perception and participation by the presently worded.
public of the nation’s problems nor meaningful democratic
decision-making if the public is denied access of information · Powers of BJE exceed those granted to any LGU under present
of general interest (Baldoza v. Judge Dimaano) laws

· The MOA-AD is a matter of public concern, and matters of · The international law concept of association is discussed in length
public concern covered by the right to information as it is envisioned to be the relationship between the BJE and
contemplates inclusion of steps and negotiations leading to the Central Government[6]
the consummation of the contract/ transaction (Chavez v.
PEA) · Quotes Keitner and Reisman (authors of Free Association: The
United States Experience): [a]n association is formed when
· Effectivity of the policy of public disclosure need not wait for a two states of unequal power voluntary establish durable
passing of a statute. Respondents cannot point to the links. In the basic model, one state, the associate, delegates
absence of an implementing legislation as an excuse in not certain responsibilities to the other, the principal while
effecting such policy (merely provided for “reasonable maintaining its international status as a state. Free
associations represent a middle ground between integration
and independence. xxx (Emphasis and underscoring 3. Article II, Section 22 of the Constitution must also be amended
supplied) to effect the scheme envisioned in the MOA-AD.

· Free association is understood as an international association


between sovereigns
“The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural
communities within the framework of national unity and
development”
· The MOA-AD contains many provisions which are consistent
with the international legal concept of association[7]

1. BJE’s capacity to enter into economic and trade relations with Court says that because of the associative ties between the BJE and
foreign countries the national government, the act of placing a portion of
Philippine territory in a status which in international practice
2. Commitment of the Central Government to ensure participation has generally been a preparation for independence, is
of BJE in ASEAN events and UN agencies certainly not conducive to national unity.

3. BJE’s right to participate in Philippine official missions bearing


on negotiation of border agreements
· MOA-AD is also not in consonance with a number of statutes.
4. Sharing of revenues

5. These resemble rights of governments of the Federated States


of Micronesia (an example of an associated state in the US) 1. Article X Section 3 of the Organic Act of the ARMM is a bar to
the adoption of the definition of “Bangsamoro people” used in
the MOA

· Concept of ASSOCIATION is not recognized in our


Constitution
MOA-AD lumps together the identities of the Bangsamoro with the
1. No province, city or municipality has an “associative” other indigenous peoples living in Mindanao (the Organic Act
relationship with the national government of the ARMM distinguishes between Bangsa Moro people and
Tribal peoples)
2. Court says: “even the mere concept of animating many of the
MOA-AD’s provisions already require for the amendment of
constitutional provisions, such as in Article X[8]”
2. Chapter VII Section 52 of the IPRA lays down a detailed
procedure in the delineation and recognition of ancestral
domains which is not what is in the MOA-AD
· It violates of a number of articles in the Constitution

MOA-AD simply states in Paragraph 1 TERRITORY, “[t]he


1. Article X, Section 20 (defines the powers of autonomous Bangsamoro homeland and historic territory refer to the land
regions) mass as well as the maritime x x x embracing the Mindanao-
Sulu-Palawan geographic region.”

Section 20. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the


provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic · The “suspensive clause” in the MOA-AD is
act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
over:

1. Paragraph 7 in GOVERNANCE section of the MOA-AD states:


(1) Administrative organization;

(2) Creation of sources of revenues;


“7. Parties agree that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual
xxx implementation of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the
Comprehensive Compact to mutually take such steps to
(9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the enable it to occur effectively.
promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.
(Underscoring supplied)

Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing


legal framework shall come into force upon effecting the
2. It is only the President who has the power to enter into necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to
treaties[9] however, paragraph 3 under RESOURCES in the non-derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated
MOA-AD states that “the BJE is free to enter into any timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact.”
economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign
countries: provided however that such relationships and
understandings do not include aggression against the
Government of the Republic of the Philippines x x x” 2. Court opines that this stipulation does not bear a mark of a
“suspensive” condition – defined in civil law as a future and
uncertain event – but of a term. It is not a question of 4. He also cites that the COMPREHENSIVE CONTRACT is yet
whether the necessary changes to the legal framework to be drafted (with a deadline within 15 months from signing of
will be effected but WHEN. There is no uncertainty, thus the MOA-AD)
pursuant to this, it is mandatory for the GRP to effect the
changes to the legal framework. 5. Law or act in question is not yet effective does not negate
ripeness

6. Present petitions allege that respondents GRP Panel and


This is inconsistent with the limits of the President’s authority to PAPP Esperon drafted MOA-AD without consulting LGUs
propose constitutional amendments, it being a virtual affected is a departure from their mandate under E.O. No. 3
guarantee that the Constitution and other laws will
certainly be adjusted to conform to the MOA-AD.

[3] Moot and academic argument not applicable if:

3. Upholding such would be authorizing a usurpation of the a. There is grave violation of constitution
constituent powers vested only in Congress, a Constitutional
Convention or the people themselves through initiative b. Situation is of exceptional character and paramount
because the only way that the Executive can guarantee these public interest is involved
amendments is through undue influence and interference with
the legislative process. Thus, it should be struck down as c. Constitutional issue raised requires formulation of
UNCONSTITUTIONAL. controlling principles to guide the bench, the bar and the
public

d. Case is capable of repetition yet evading review

[4] “Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State


VERDICT: adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its
transactions involving public interest.”

[5] This doctrine means the non-disclosure of sensitive information by


1. Respondent’s motion to dismiss is DENIED. Main and the Executive, as regards, for example, national security
intervening petitions are GRANTED.
[6] “4. The relationship between the Central Government and the
2. The Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain Bangsamoro juridical entity shall be associative characterized by
Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 is shared authority and responsibility with a structure of governance
declared CONTRARY TO LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION. based on executive, legislative, judicial and administrative
institutions…”

[7] Such as the BJE’s capacity to enter into economic and trade
LAWS CITED: relations with foreign countries, the commitment of the Central
Government to ensure the BJE’s participation in meetings and events in
Executive Order No. 3 Defining Policy and Administrative Structure for the ASEAN and the specialized UN agencies, and the continuing
Government’s Comprehensive Peace Efforts responsibility of the Centre

The 1987 Philippine Constitution [8] SECTION 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic
of the Philippines are the provinces, cities, municipalities, and
Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) (R.A. 8371) barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao
and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided
Local Government Code (R.A. 7160)

SECTION 15. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim


Mindanao xxx within the framework of this Constitution and the
national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic
[1] A rebel group established in March 1984 when it splintered, under
of the Philippines.
the leadership of the late Salamat Hashim from the Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF) then headed by Nur Misuari. It separated on
the ground of what Salamat perceived to be a manipulation of the
MNLF away from an Islamic basis towards Marxist-Maoist orientations. [9] Pimentel v. Executive Secretary instructs:
[2] SOLGEN SAYS: NO JUSTICIABLE CONTROVERSY THAT IS In our system of government, the President, being the head of
RIPE state is regarded as the sole organ and authority in external
relations and is the country’s sole representative with foreign
1. Unsigned MOA AD is just a list of consensus points for further nations. As the chief architect x x x the President is vested with
negotiations authority to deal with foreign states and governments x x x In
the realm of treaty-making, the President has the sole
2. Remains to be a proposal that does not create legally
authority to negotiate with other states.
demandable rights until the list of operative acts have been
complied with

3. He cites the provision on the need for plebiscites (with regard G.R. No. 91649 May 14, 1991
to the additional areas in Annex A and B
ATTORNEYS HUMBERTO BASCO, EDILBERTO BALCE, SOCRATES (b) To establish and operate clubs and casinos, for amusement
MARANAN AND LORENZO SANCHEZ, petitioners, and recreation, including sports gaming pools, (basketball, football,
lotteries, etc.) and such other forms of amusement and recreation
vs. including games of chance, which may be allowed by law within the
territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines and which will: (1) generate
PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENTS AND GAMING CORPORATION sources of additional revenue to fund infrastructure and socio-civic
(PAGCOR), respondent. projects, such as flood control programs, beautification, sewerage and
sewage projects, Tulungan ng Bayan Centers, Nutritional Programs,
PARAS, J.:p Population Control and such other essential public services; (2) create
recreation and integrated facilities which will expand and improve the
A TV ad proudly announces:
country's existing tourist attractions; and (3) minimize, if not totally
"The new PAGCOR — responding through responsible gaming." eradicate, all the evils, malpractices and corruptions that are normally
prevalent on the conduct and operation of gambling clubs and casinos
But the petitioners think otherwise, that is why, they filed the instant without direct government involvement. (Section 1, P.D. 1869)
petition seeking to annul the Philippine Amusement and Gaming
Corporation (PAGCOR) Charter — PD 1869, because it is allegedly To attain these objectives PAGCOR is given territorial jurisdiction all
contrary to morals, public policy and order, and because — over the Philippines. Under its Charter's repealing clause, all laws,
decrees, executive orders, rules and regulations, inconsistent therewith,
A. It constitutes a waiver of a right prejudicial to a third person are accordingly repealed, amended or modified.
with a right recognized by law. It waived the Manila City government's
right to impose taxes and license fees, which is recognized by law; It is reported that PAGCOR is the third largest source of government
revenue, next to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of
B. For the same reason stated in the immediately preceding Customs. In 1989 alone, PAGCOR earned P3.43 Billion, and directly
paragraph, the law has intruded into the local government's right to remitted to the National Government a total of P2.5 Billion in form of
impose local taxes and license fees. This, in contravention of the franchise tax, government's income share, the President's Social Fund
constitutionally enshrined principle of local autonomy; and Host Cities' share. In addition, PAGCOR sponsored other socio-
cultural and charitable projects on its own or in cooperation with various
C. It violates the equal protection clause of the constitution in governmental agencies, and other private associations and
that it legalizes PAGCOR — conducted gambling, while most other organizations. In its 3 1/2 years of operation under the present
forms of gambling are outlawed, together with prostitution, drug administration, PAGCOR remitted to the government a total of P6.2
trafficking and other vices; Billion. As of December 31, 1989, PAGCOR was employing 4,494
employees in its nine (9) casinos nationwide, directly supporting the
D. It violates the avowed trend of the Cory government away livelihood of Four Thousand Four Hundred Ninety-Four (4,494) families.
from monopolistic and crony economy, and toward free enterprise and
privatization. (p. 2, Amended Petition; p. 7, Rollo) But the petitioners, are questioning the validity of P.D. No. 1869. They
allege that the same is "null and void" for being "contrary to morals,
In their Second Amended Petition, petitioners also claim that PD 1869 public policy and public order," monopolistic and tends toward "crony
is contrary to the declared national policy of the "new restored economy", and is violative of the equal protection clause and local
democracy" and the people's will as expressed in the 1987 Constitution. autonomy as well as for running counter to the state policies enunciated
The decree is said to have a "gambling objective" and therefore is in Sections 11 (Personal Dignity and Human Rights), 12 (Family) and
contrary to Sections 11, 12 and 13 of Article II, Sec. 1 of Article VIII and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II, Section 1 (Social Justice) of Article XIII
Section 3 (2) of Article XIV, of the present Constitution (p. 3, Second and Section 2 (Educational Values) of Article XIV of the 1987
Amended Petition; p. 21, Rollo). Constitution.

The procedural issue is whether petitioners, as taxpayers and practicing This challenge to P.D. No. 1869 deserves a searching and thorough
lawyers (petitioner Basco being also the Chairman of the Committee on scrutiny and the most deliberate consideration by the Court, involving
Laws of the City Council of Manila), can question and seek the as it does the exercise of what has been described as "the highest and
annulment of PD 1869 on the alleged grounds mentioned above. most delicate function which belongs to the judicial department of the
government." (State v. Manuel, 20 N.C. 144; Lozano v. Martinez, 146
The Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) was SCRA 323).
created by virtue of P.D. 1067-A dated January 1, 1977 and was
granted a franchise under P.D. 1067-B also dated January 1, 1977 "to As We enter upon the task of passing on the validity of an act of a co-
establish, operate and maintain gambling casinos on land or water equal and coordinate branch of the government We need not be
within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines." Its operation was reminded of the time-honored principle, deeply ingrained in our
originally conducted in the well known floating casino "Philippine jurisprudence, that a statute is presumed to be valid. Every presumption
Tourist." The operation was considered a success for it proved to be a must be indulged in favor of its constitutionality. This is not to say that
potential source of revenue to fund infrastructure and socio-economic We approach Our task with diffidence or timidity. Where it is clear that
projects, thus, P.D. 1399 was passed on June 2, 1978 for PAGCOR to the legislature or the executive for that matter, has over-stepped the
fully attain this objective. limits of its authority under the constitution, We should not hesitate to
wield the axe and let it fall heavily, as fall it must, on the offending
Subsequently, on July 11, 1983, PAGCOR was created under P.D. statute (Lozano v. Martinez, supra).
1869 to enable the Government to regulate and centralize all games of
chance authorized by existing franchise or permitted by law, under the In Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, et al, 59 SCRA 54, the
following declared policy — Court thru Mr. Justice Zaldivar underscored the —

Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. — It is hereby declared to be the policy . . . thoroughly established principle which must be followed in all cases
of the State to centralize and integrate all games of chance not where questions of constitutionality as obtain in the instant cases are
heretofore authorized by existing franchises or permitted by law in order involved. All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality; one
to attain the following objectives: who attacks a statute alleging unconstitutionality must prove its
invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt; that a law may work hardship
(a) To centralize and integrate the right and authority to operate does not render it unconstitutional; that if any reasonable basis may be
and conduct games of chance into one corporate entity to be controlled, conceived which supports the statute, it will be upheld and the
administered and supervised by the Government. challenger must negate all possible basis; that the courts are not
concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy or expediency of a statute "law of overwhelming necessity." (Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro,
and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of the 39 Phil. 660, 708) It is "the most essential, insistent, and illimitable of
constitutionality of legislation should be adopted. (Danner v. Hass, 194 powers." (Smith Bell & Co. v. National, 40 Phil. 136) It is a dynamic
N.W. 2nd 534, 539; Spurbeck v. Statton, 106 N.W. 2nd 660, 663; 59 force that enables the state to meet the agencies of the winds of
SCRA 66; see also e.g. Salas v. Jarencio, 46 SCRA 734, 739 [1970]; change.
Peralta v. Commission on Elections, 82 SCRA 30, 55 [1978]; and Heirs
of Ordona v. Reyes, 125 SCRA 220, 241-242 [1983] cited in Citizens What was the reason behind the enactment of P.D. 1869?
Alliance for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162
SCRA 521, 540) P.D. 1869 was enacted pursuant to the policy of the government to
"regulate and centralize thru an appropriate institution all games of
Of course, there is first, the procedural issue. The respondents are chance authorized by existing franchise or permitted by law" (1st
questioning the legal personality of petitioners to file the instant petition. whereas clause, PD 1869). As was subsequently proved, regulating
and centralizing gambling operations in one corporate entity — the
Considering however the importance to the public of the case at bar, PAGCOR, was beneficial not just to the Government but to society in
and in keeping with the Court's duty, under the 1987 Constitution, to general. It is a reliable source of much needed revenue for the cash
determine whether or not the other branches of government have kept strapped Government. It provided funds for social impact projects and
themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and that subjected gambling to "close scrutiny, regulation, supervision and
they have not abused the discretion given to them, the Court has control of the Government" (4th Whereas Clause, PD 1869). With the
brushed aside technicalities of procedure and has taken cognizance of creation of PAGCOR and the direct intervention of the Government, the
this petition. (Kapatiran ng mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng evil practices and corruptions that go with gambling will be minimized if
Pilipinas Inc. v. Tan, 163 SCRA 371) not totally eradicated. Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the
enactment of PD 1896.
With particular regard to the requirement of proper party as applied in
the cases before us, We hold that the same is satisfied by the Petitioners contend that P.D. 1869 constitutes a waiver of the right of
petitioners and intervenors because each of them has sustained or is in the City of Manila to impose taxes and legal fees; that the exemption
danger of sustaining an immediate injury as a result of the acts or clause in P.D. 1869 is violative of the principle of local autonomy. They
measures complained of. And even if, strictly speaking they are not must be referring to Section 13 par. (2) of P.D. 1869 which exempts
covered by the definition, it is still within the wide discretion of the Court PAGCOR, as the franchise holder from paying any "tax of any kind or
to waive the requirement and so remove the impediment to its form, income or otherwise, as well as fees, charges or levies of
addressing and resolving the serious constitutional questions raised. whatever nature, whether National or Local."

In the first Emergency Powers Cases, ordinary citizens and taxpayers (2) Income and other taxes. — a) Franchise Holder: No tax of
were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive any kind or form, income or otherwise as well as fees, charges or levies
orders issued by President Quirino although they were involving only an of whatever nature, whether National or Local, shall be assessed and
indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. The collected under this franchise from the Corporation; nor shall any form
Court dismissed the objection that they were not proper parties and or tax or charge attach in any way to the earnings of the Corporation,
ruled that "the transcendental importance to the public of these cases except a franchise tax of five (5%) percent of the gross revenues or
demands that they be settled promptly and definitely, brushing aside, if earnings derived by the Corporation from its operations under this
we must technicalities of procedure." We have since then applied the franchise. Such tax shall be due and payable quarterly to the National
exception in many other cases. (Association of Small Landowners in Government and shall be in lieu of all kinds of taxes, levies, fees or
the Philippines, Inc. v. Sec. of Agrarian Reform, 175 SCRA 343). assessments of any kind, nature or description, levied, established or
collected by any municipal, provincial or national government authority
Having disposed of the procedural issue, We will now discuss the (Section 13 [2]).
substantive issues raised.
Their contention stated hereinabove is without merit for the following
Gambling in all its forms, unless allowed by law, is generally prohibited. reasons:
But the prohibition of gambling does not mean that the Government
cannot regulate it in the exercise of its police power. (a) The City of Manila, being a mere Municipal corporation has
no inherent right to impose taxes (Icard v. City of Baguio, 83 Phil. 870;
The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. It has City of Iloilo v. Villanueva, 105 Phil. 337; Santos v. Municipality of
been defined as the "state authority to enact legislation that may Caloocan, 7 SCRA 643). Thus, "the Charter or statute must plainly
interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the show an intent to confer that power or the municipality cannot assume
general welfare." (Edu v. Ericta, 35 SCRA 481, 487) As defined, it it" (Medina v. City of Baguio, 12 SCRA 62). Its "power to tax" therefore
consists of (1) an imposition or restraint upon liberty or property, (2) in must always yield to a legislative act which is superior having been
order to foster the common good. It is not capable of an exact definition passed upon by the state itself which has the "inherent power to tax"
but has been, purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its all- (Bernas, the Revised [1973] Philippine Constitution, Vol. 1, 1983 ed. p.
comprehensive embrace. (Philippine Association of Service Exporters, 445).
Inc. v. Drilon, 163 SCRA 386).
(b) The Charter of the City of Manila is subject to control by
Its scope, ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to Congress. It should be stressed that "municipal corporations are mere
anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room for creatures of Congress" (Unson v. Lacson, G.R. No. 7909, January 18,
an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus 1957) which has the power to "create and abolish municipal
assuming the greatest benefits. (Edu v. Ericta, supra) corporations" due to its "general legislative powers" (Asuncion v.
Yriantes, 28 Phil. 67; Merdanillo v. Orandia, 5 SCRA 541). Congress,
It finds no specific Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does therefore, has the power of control over Local governments (Hebron v.
not owe its origin to the charter. Along with the taxing power and Reyes, G.R. No. 9124, July 2, 1950). And if Congress can grant the
eminent domain, it is inborn in the very fact of statehood and City of Manila the power to tax certain matters, it can also provide for
sovereignty. It is a fundamental attribute of government that has exemptions or even take back the power.
enabled it to perform the most vital functions of governance. Marshall,
to whom the expression has been credited, refers to it succinctly as the (c) The City of Manila's power to impose license fees on
plenary power of the state "to govern its citizens". (Tribe, American gambling, has long been revoked. As early as 1975, the power of local
Constitutional Law, 323, 1978). The police power of the State is a governments to regulate gambling thru the grant of "franchise, licenses
power co-extensive with self-protection and is most aptly termed the
or permits" was withdrawn by P.D. No. 771 and was vested exclusively (e) Petitioners also argue that the Local Autonomy Clause of the
on the National Government, thus: Constitution will be violated by P.D. 1869. This is a pointless argument.
Article X of the 1987 Constitution (on Local Autonomy) provides:
Sec. 1. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the
authority of chartered cities and other local governments to issue Sec. 5. Each local government unit shall have the power to create its
license, permit or other form of franchise to operate, maintain and own source of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and other charges
establish horse and dog race tracks, jai-alai and other forms of subject to such guidelines and limitation as the congress may provide,
gambling is hereby revoked. consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy. Such taxes, fees
and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local government.
Sec. 2. Hereafter, all permits or franchises to operate, maintain and (emphasis supplied)
establish, horse and dog race tracks, jai-alai and other forms of
gambling shall be issued by the national government upon proper The power of local government to "impose taxes and fees" is always
application and verification of the qualification of the applicant . . . subject to "limitations" which Congress may provide by law. Since PD
1869 remains an "operative" law until "amended, repealed or revoked"
Therefore, only the National Government has the power to issue (Sec. 3, Art. XVIII, 1987 Constitution), its "exemption clause" remains
"licenses or permits" for the operation of gambling. Necessarily, the as an exception to the exercise of the power of local governments to
power to demand or collect license fees which is a consequence of the impose taxes and fees. It cannot therefore be violative but rather is
issuance of "licenses or permits" is no longer vested in the City of consistent with the principle of local autonomy.
Manila.
Besides, the principle of local autonomy under the 1987 Constitution
(d) Local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of simply means "decentralization" (III Records of the 1987 Constitutional
the National Government. PAGCOR is a government owned or Commission, pp. 435-436, as cited in Bernas, The Constitution of the
controlled corporation with an original charter, PD 1869. All of its shares Republic of the Philippines, Vol. II, First Ed., 1988, p. 374). It does not
of stocks are owned by the National Government. In addition to its make local governments sovereign within the state or an "imperium in
corporate powers (Sec. 3, Title II, PD 1869) it also exercises regulatory imperio."
powers thus:
Local Government has been described as a political subdivision of a
Sec. 9. Regulatory Power. — The Corporation shall maintain a nation or state which is constituted by law and has substantial control of
Registry of the affiliated entities, and shall exercise all the powers, local affairs. In a unitary system of government, such as the
authority and the responsibilities vested in the Securities and Exchange government under the Philippine Constitution, local governments can
Commission over such affiliating entities mentioned under the only be an intra sovereign subdivision of one sovereign nation, it cannot
preceding section, including, but not limited to amendments of Articles be an imperium in imperio. Local government in such a system can only
of Incorporation and By-Laws, changes in corporate term, structure, mean a measure of decentralization of the function of government.
capitalization and other matters concerning the operation of the (emphasis supplied)
affiliated entities, the provisions of the Corporation Code of the
Philippines to the contrary notwithstanding, except only with respect to As to what state powers should be "decentralized" and what may be
original incorporation. delegated to local government units remains a matter of policy, which
concerns wisdom. It is therefore a political question. (Citizens Alliance
PAGCOR has a dual role, to operate and to regulate gambling casinos. for Consumer Protection v. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 539).
The latter role is governmental, which places it in the category of an
agency or instrumentality of the Government. Being an instrumentality What is settled is that the matter of regulating, taxing or otherwise
of the Government, PAGCOR should be and actually is exempt from dealing with gambling is a State concern and hence, it is the sole
local taxes. Otherwise, its operation might be burdened, impeded or prerogative of the State to retain it or delegate it to local governments.
subjected to control by a mere Local government.
As gambling is usually an offense against the State, legislative grant or
The states have no power by taxation or otherwise, to retard, impede, express charter power is generally necessary to empower the local
burden or in any manner control the operation of constitutional laws corporation to deal with the subject. . . . In the absence of express grant
enacted by Congress to carry into execution the powers vested in the of power to enact, ordinance provisions on this subject which are
federal government. (MC Culloch v. Marland, 4 Wheat 316, 4 L Ed. inconsistent with the state laws are void. (Ligan v. Gadsden, Ala App.
579) 107 So. 733 Ex-Parte Solomon, 9, Cals. 440, 27 PAC 757 following in
re Ah You, 88 Cal. 99, 25 PAC 974, 22 Am St. Rep. 280, 11 LRA 480,
This doctrine emanates from the "supremacy" of the National as cited in Mc Quinllan Vol. 3 Ibid, p. 548, emphasis supplied)
Government over local governments.
Petitioners next contend that P.D. 1869 violates the equal protection
Justice Holmes, speaking for the Supreme Court, made reference to clause of the Constitution, because "it legalized PAGCOR — conducted
the entire absence of power on the part of the States to touch, in that gambling, while most gambling are outlawed together with prostitution,
way (taxation) at least, the instrumentalities of the United States drug trafficking and other vices" (p. 82, Rollo).
(Johnson v. Maryland, 254 US 51) and it can be agreed that no state or
political subdivision can regulate a federal instrumentality in such a way We, likewise, find no valid ground to sustain this contention. The
as to prevent it from consummating its federal responsibilities, or even petitioners' posture ignores the well-accepted meaning of the clause
to seriously burden it in the accomplishment of them. (Antieau, Modern "equal protection of the laws." The clause does not preclude
Constitutional Law, Vol. 2, p. 140, emphasis supplied) classification of individuals who may be accorded different treatment
under the law as long as the classification is not unreasonable or
Otherwise, mere creatures of the State can defeat National policies thru arbitrary (Itchong v. Hernandez, 101 Phil. 1155). A law does not have to
extermination of what local authorities may perceive to be undesirable operate in equal force on all persons or things to be conformable to
activities or enterprise using the power to tax as "a tool for regulation" Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution (DECS v. San Diego, G.R. No.
(U.S. v. Sanchez, 340 US 42). 89572, December 21, 1989).

The power to tax which was called by Justice Marshall as the "power to The "equal protection clause" does not prohibit the Legislature from
destroy" (Mc Culloch v. Maryland, supra) cannot be allowed to defeat establishing classes of individuals or objects upon which different rules
an instrumentality or creation of the very entity which has the inherent shall operate (Laurel v. Misa, 43 O.G. 2847). The Constitution does not
power to wield it. require situations which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in
law as though they were the same (Gomez v. Palomar, 25 SCRA 827).
Just how P.D. 1869 in legalizing gambling conducted by PAGCOR is remains a wise legislation considering the issues of "morality,
violative of the equal protection is not clearly explained in the petition. monopoly, trend to free enterprise, privatization as well as the state
The mere fact that some gambling activities like cockfighting (P.D 449) principles on social justice, role of youth and educational values" being
horse racing (R.A. 306 as amended by RA 983), sweepstakes, lotteries raised, is up for Congress to determine.
and races (RA 1169 as amended by B.P. 42) are legalized under
certain conditions, while others are prohibited, does not render the As this Court held in Citizens' Alliance for Consumer Protection v.
applicable laws, P.D. 1869 for one, unconstitutional. Energy Regulatory Board, 162 SCRA 521 —

If the law presumably hits the evil where it is most felt, it is not to be Presidential Decree No. 1956, as amended by Executive Order No. 137
overthrown because there are other instances to which it might have has, in any case, in its favor the presumption of validity and
been applied. (Gomez v. Palomar, 25 SCRA 827) constitutionality which petitioners Valmonte and the KMU have not
overturned. Petitioners have not undertaken to identify the provisions in
The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment does not mean that the Constitution which they claim to have been violated by that statute.
all occupations called by the same name must be treated the same This Court, however, is not compelled to speculate and to imagine how
way; the state may do what it can to prevent which is deemed as evil the assailed legislation may possibly offend some provision of the
and stop short of those cases in which harm to the few concerned is not Constitution. The Court notes, further, in this respect that petitioners
less than the harm to the public that would insure if the rule laid down have in the main put in question the wisdom, justice and expediency of
were made mathematically exact. (Dominican Hotel v. Arizona, 249 US the establishment of the OPSF, issues which are not properly
2651). addressed to this Court and which this Court may not constitutionally
pass upon. Those issues should be addressed rather to the political
Anent petitioners' claim that PD 1869 is contrary to the "avowed trend departments of government: the President and the Congress.
of the Cory Government away from monopolies and crony economy
and toward free enterprise and privatization" suffice it to state that this Parenthetically, We wish to state that gambling is generally immoral,
is not a ground for this Court to nullify P.D. 1869. If, indeed, PD 1869 and this is precisely so when the gambling resorted to is excessive.
runs counter to the government's policies then it is for the Executive This excessiveness necessarily depends not only on the financial
Department to recommend to Congress its repeal or amendment. resources of the gambler and his family but also on his mental, social,
and spiritual outlook on life. However, the mere fact that some persons
The judiciary does not settle policy issues. The Court can only declare may have lost their material fortunes, mental control, physical health, or
what the law is and not what the law should be. Under our system of even their lives does not necessarily mean that the same are directly
government, policy issues are within the domain of the political attributable to gambling. Gambling may have been the antecedent, but
branches of government and of the people themselves as the repository certainly not necessarily the cause. For the same consequences could
of all state power. (Valmonte v. Belmonte, Jr., 170 SCRA 256). have been preceded by an overdose of food, drink, exercise, work, and
even sex.
On the issue of "monopoly," however, the Constitution provides that:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Sec. 19. The State shall regulate or prohibit monopolies when public
interest so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair SO ORDERED.
competition shall be allowed. (Art. XII, National Economy and
Patrimony)

It should be noted that, as the provision is worded, monopolies are not


necessarily prohibited by the Constitution. The state must still decide
whether public interest demands that monopolies be regulated or
prohibited. Again, this is a matter of policy for the Legislature to decide.

On petitioners' allegation that P.D. 1869 violates Sections 11


(Personality Dignity) 12 (Family) and 13 (Role of Youth) of Article II;
Section 13 (Social Justice) of Article XIII and Section 2 (Educational
Values) of Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution, suffice it to state also
that these are merely statements of principles and, policies. As such,
they are basically not self-executing, meaning a law should be passed
by Congress to clearly define and effectuate such principles.

In general, therefore, the 1935 provisions were not intended to be self-


executing principles ready for enforcement through the courts. They
were rather directives addressed to the executive and the legislature. If
the executive and the legislature failed to heed the directives of the
articles the available remedy was not judicial or political. The electorate
could express their displeasure with the failure of the executive and the
legislature through the language of the ballot. (Bernas, Vol. II, p. 2)

Every law has in its favor the presumption of constitutionality (Yu Cong
Eng v. Trinidad, 47 Phil. 387; Salas v. Jarencio, 48 SCRA 734; Peralta
v. Comelec, 82 SCRA 30; Abbas v. Comelec, 179 SCRA 287).
Therefore, for PD 1869 to be nullified, it must be shown that there is a
clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful
and equivocal one. In other words, the grounds for nullity must be clear
and beyond reasonable doubt. (Peralta v. Comelec, supra) Those who
petition this Court to declare a law, or parts thereof, unconstitutional
must clearly establish the basis for such a declaration. Otherwise, their
petition must fail. Based on the grounds raised by petitioners to
challenge the constitutionality of P.D. 1869, the Court finds that
petitioners have failed to overcome the presumption. The dismissal of
this petition is therefore, inevitable. But as to whether P.D. 1869